It was besides the breadsticks. They were slowly hardening and so was I. They were growing stale, so was I. Before long they would be overwhelmed by oxygen and decompose, as will I. But, for now, they were hardening. We were hardening. We were less appetising, but stronger in defeat. The breadsticks and I were a team, we knew the way things worked. I salute you, you dry tasteless pale baton, and by God I salute my own too.
Boy was I drunk. I had filled up on vodka and ginger beer whilst listening to Bogdan Raczynski before going out. I had diluted my cold exterior with his optimistic melodies strewn across childish beats. I had drunk the rest of the tequila I had saved for a special occasion, and had resolved to feign happiness for someone else’s special occasion. Occasionally, I can pull this feat off. It takes the resolve of a breadstick.
And that’s where I was. Meaty dubstep played in the other room. People dipped into the punch. It was a 21st Century party, where overt drunkenness was uncouth, cigarettes were for outside (and for outsiders), and drugs were hidden and taken responsibly with those who might share theirs with you next time.
I could think straight. I had proved that much to myself by analysing the breadsticks with impressive coherence. But could I talk straight? I was less sure. Thankfully, the only person I knew at this party was immensely popular and I was sure to be way down the list of conversation priorities. Others were well away, seemingly talking about anything which crossed their minds, never with any depth. It was remarkable – everything seemed hilarious. I was in awe.
That’s when it happened. First, she burst out from a small collection of civilised drunks, like an umbrella flying out of a window and promptly opening. Then she sailed towards me on a breeze of gin and tonic, wove past the awkwardly positioned sofa and came straight for me. She was someone who I had never seen before.
No longer could I think straight. My head was a mess. I was oblong fisherman. I rescue the fieldmouse. Who in the world? The Smiths played but I couldn’t work out which song. What is this?
With agility she chicaned around my loitering corpse and went for – what’s this? – the breadsticks! Now this was something. And what’s more, she’s dipping them in some kind of orange-red dip. So the breadsticks can be saved. Why, this had promise for the rest of us, comrades.
I was delighted. And, it must be said, painfully stationary. I had remained transfixed through this whole ordeal, from the lows to the highs, pulling in visual experiences and giving nothing back. My face was like George Osborne’s – deathly.
And who should show up? The friend. The friend of mine, the friend of yours. The friend of the dozens who were here enjoying one another’s company: the host. She launched into the room shrieking as a foam bullet from a Nerf Gun whisked past her and took off someone’s glasses.
‘Yes, breadsticks! My dip! What a dip! You’re a dip! God, you two should go on a date, you are made for each other! Do you have a lighter?’
And that’s how I met her.