A short burly bouncer gives her a polite nod of approval to enter. “It’s official,” she thought, “the days of being asked for ID are long gone.” She breathes a heavy sigh and strides through the open glass doors. Music reverberates in her mind. A neon sign draws her to the bar.
“What can I get ya?” asked a blonde girl in a black singlet too sizes too small causing her bosoms to pour out.
“Daiquiri” she responds. She stands a little straighter with her chest out whilst she waits.
A stranger brushes past her bare arm as they approach the bar. Cigarette smoke hits her and she immediately feels nauseous. She pays for her drink and makes a beeline to the nearest empty bar stool.
She sips her Daiquiri and places the glass back down on the table. “Why did I let Samantha convince me to come to a bar for Friday after work drinks” she thought. The cold, sweet rum trickles down her throat and she begins to feel a little calmer. Her purse vibrates; she retrieves her mobile telephone to find a text message from Samantha, b there in 5. “Great,” she thought.
She looks around the room for the first time. The Uptown Funk! music video plays on two big screens on either side of the narrow room whilst a DJ lounges in a chair bobbing his head back and forth. A young energetic couple grind and fervently pash on the dance floor oblivious to the other dancers shocked stares.
Everywhere she looks she sees groups of people huddled around bar stools or lounges in fits of raucous laughter; handsome men in suits with woman in sky high stilettos fawning over them. She looks across the dance floor hopeful to see her friend. Instead she notices a tall, lean man with his eyes fixated on her. She holds his gaze. He takes that as his cue to saunter over.
“Michelle,” he said, “how are you?”
Michelle stares in confusion. She doesn’t recognise him, “how does he know my name,” she wonders.
“You don’t recognise me do you?” he asks. He smiles, his eyes show a laugh.
“Sorry no,” she replies. Michelle searches her memory for the face in front of her. A handsome face she notes, but a face she cannot place.
“Well,” he said, “I’m not surprised; I was kind of overweight back in high school.”
She absorbs the clue and begins to name all of the male classmates she has not seen in ten years. Few were overweight.
“Michael!” she screams.
“That’s right,” he confirms, “how have you been?”
Michelle struggles to find the words to respond. Her last memory of Michael Johnson is saying no to him on Valentine’s Day when he presented her with a single long stemmed rose and asked her to be his girlfriend. He seldom spoke to her after that day. If this version of Michael Johnson had asked, she would have said yes.
She realizes his smile begins to fade; it has been too long since she has spoken.
“So sorry I’m late,” says a loud voice. Michelle turns to see Samantha slump into the bar stool next to her and throw her purse onto the table. “Parking was a nightmare,” Samantha told Michelle as way of explanation for her tardiness.
“I’ll let you get to it then,” said Michael, “good seeing you.” But before Michelle can respond, ask him to join her for a drink, he is gone.
“Who was that hottie?” asks Samantha. She looked at Michelle with curiosity.
Michelle takes a sip of her Daiquiri. “That,” she said, “could have been my husband.”
She raises the glass to her lips and drowns the entire contents.