A story about a guy who grows and learns to see his life and socialization differently.
|It was Thursday night and the nightclub was fairly busy. I sat at the end of the bar sipping what was left of my third chocolate martini as I scanned the dance floor. Tina had disappeared into that mob of gyrating bodies twenty minutes ago. I rubbed my right temple, which was throbbing in the loud techno music being pumped out the nearby speaker at deafening levels and glanced at my watch. It was eight minutes after midnight. I had told Tina that I wanted to leave by midnight before she took off to dance to what she assured me would be her last song. How many songs had played since then? Eight? A dozen? Someone to my right bumped my shoulder as they approached the bar to order their next drink. "Sorry about that, man," he shouted over the din.
I glanced at the young blond guy who smiled apologetically at me. "Yeah, it's fine," I said noncommittally as I continued my visual search for my missing friend.
"Hey, I've seen you around here a few times, haven't I?"
"Yeah, probably." My eyes continued to try to make out faces and outfits.
"Curt." I spotted a woman about the right height to be Tina in a short black dress. Then I notice that the woman I see is wearing heels. I kept searching.
"Nice to meet you." There was a brief pause before Brandon speaks again. "So, are you trying to find your boyfriend?"
"No, my friend, Tina. In fact, I just spotted her. Take care." Brandon mumbled something as I headed for the dance floor. I didn't catch what it was. I just wanted to find Tina and get out of there.
As I approached her, Tina saw me and waved ecstatically! "Curt! You decided to join me out here after all!"
I had to practically shout to be heard over the noise. "No. I'm decided to find you so we can leave. It's almost quarter after."
"Oh dear!" She turned to the two men and three women next to her. "Thanks for letting me join you! I need to go. My friend the fuddy duddy needs to go home so he can get some sleep!" I grimaced as I watched her make me into the "bad guy" for her new friends. At least I assumed they were new. I didn't recognize any of them. I tried to muster patience as each of them hurriedly hugged her goodbye. She finally turned to follow me toward the entrance of the club. You would think that the place was giant, given the five minutes it took us to make our way outside. But even walking a hundred feet was an ordeal with Tina. Every dozen or so steps, she'd cross paths with another of her myriad acquaintances, which would require another brief stop, exchange of goodbyes, and hugs. I had taught myself to stop and look behind myself to make sure she was still coming every fifteen seconds or so. If I didn't, I was bound to find myself outside without her and wondering when she'd remember that I'm waiting. I shook my head and scolded myself for not telling her I wanted to leave by eleven thirty. Maybe then, I would've been headed home at midnight like I wanted.
Once we finally made it outside, I paused just long enough to remember where I had parked my Accord, then made for it at a fast pace. "Hey, Curt, wait up. I'm having trouble keeping up with my short legs." I sighed and slowed my pace. Tina caught up with me and I caught her glance at my face out of the corner of my eye. "Something wrong, guy?"
I clenched my jaw. "I'm fine. Just tired."
"You're upset that it's late, aren't you?"
"I don't want to talk about it. I just want to get home and go to sleep."
"Aw, didn't you have a good time?"
I sighed. "I had an okay time I guess. It was fun dancing."
"Then why didn't you spend more than five minutes on the dance floor?"
"Because it was crowded and hot. I just couldn't take it. And because I was getting a headache."
"You should've told me. I had a couple aspirin you could've had."
I glanced at Tina and noticed the sexy and pocket-free outfit she was wearing. "I don't want to know where you're hiding them."
She laughed at that, and I even smiled a little. I enjoyed going out with Tina on occasion. She was quite the social butterfly, and knew all the best places in the city. It just bothered me that she was able to have such a good time and I spent most of my night feeling overwhelmed and alone despite being surrounded by a couple hundred people. I paused as we reached the car and I pulled out my remote to unlock it. "I guess I'm just...disappointed..."
"That no one hit on you?"
"Well, yeah." I hated admitting that to her. It was frustrating watching a steady flow of guys flirt with her, offer her his number, or invite her back to his place, while no one seemed to notice me. It was especially frustrating on nights like this when we came to a gay club. Guys and girls alike tended to flock to her.
"Well, honey, maybe it's time you quit waiting for the guys to approach you and try hitting on them for a change." I grimaced at her suggestion. The thought of embarrassing myself by trying to dazzle one of the beefcakes I had been eying all night filled me with dread. "We'll see. Maybe next time."
Tina laughed. "Curt, I love you, but that's what you say every time." We got in the car and drove in silence.
She was right. I did say that every time. But what else was I supposed to do? Not all of us were extroverts like her.