I went from the first yoga session of the New Year to the pub. I felt ever so noble. The place was rocking. There was a bloke at the bar looking at his watch, curious as to how long it would take the pill he’d just taken to affect his brain. I was with a woman who kept excusing herself to kiss this other woman. It wasn’t snogging exactly. Rather it was miniaturist nibbling and lip-licking. Some tongue, too. But it looked a bit theatrical. Look at us, kind of thing. Were we supposed to be surprised? Aroused? This is an agricultural town. Nobody has batted an eyelid at lesbianism or bisexuality for centuries. If they’d put their backs into it a bit more then, yes, jolly good show, and we might have spectated a bit. In the pub we were drinking gin and tonics and Jägerbombs and Sambuca shots.
When we were properly stoked, we went upstairs to this music joint next door. The band were in full flight, the place was shaking. We pushed our way right to the front, she and I, where the sweaty lead singer got me in a headlock, kissed my ear, put his mouth to it and told me how much he loved me. With malice aforethought I’d brought along some handy pocket-sized tins of gin and tonic to save time queuing at the bar. I cracked them open and gave one to the singer and he downed it in one between verses.
Then this woman and I start busting out our moves. She was a great dancer. A mover. In her spare time she works out, kick-boxes, runs up and down mountains. I’d fancied her for ages but was tongue-tied. She danced against me, simulating sex from the front standing up, then sex from the back. I grabbed her waist and she leaned right back trusting me not to let go. That kind of thing. Then Trev comes dancing over. He’s dancing like he’s a riding a donkey down a mountainside. He shouts in my ear that he’s taken half an e. It was left over from last week, he yells, before I accuse him of selfishness. The woman grabs Trev by the neck and pulls us both in close, like she’s a layer of St Ivel between two slices of supermarket bread. Then she gyrates against each of us in turn, showing us her vigorous threesome moves. Impressive they are, too. Never one to miss an opportunity, Trev puts heart and soul into it, as if he’s auditioning.
The band was out of this world. Whichever drug of choice was floating boats tonight, the music was lifting all boats on a high spring tide. After a few numbers, the woman calmed down a bit and stopped showing us how energetic and capable she was in the sack. Her head went down, her eyes closed and she slotted into a groove, a good groove, a right groove. But time had speeded up, as it always does. No sooner had we found the groove, than the singer had said, ‘Thank you and goodnight!’ and he and his band trooped off the stage. The lights came on.
Excusing myself, I went downstairs to smoke a cigarette outside in the street. While I was at it, I went to a cash machine. Sitting on the pavement was a street woman with a shawl over her head. She was surrounded by rubbish bags with clothes in them. I thought she might be begging, but she ignored me. ‘What are you doing down there?’ I said, tapping in my PIN number. ‘I’m a damson in distress,’ she said.
Then silence until the machine cleared its throat prior to dispensing my cash. People were spilling out of the music club, shouting and screaming as the fresh air hit. ‘I dream about cathedrals,’ she said. ‘What do you dream about?’ ‘Lions,’ I said. ‘Lions prowling on the footpath ahead.’ ‘Males or females?’ she said, interested. ‘Both. Would you like a drink?’ I said.
She gathered up her things and we went into the pub, which was still serving drinks. At the bar, while we waited for our drinks to come, she told me she’d renounced everything except the world, the flesh and the Devil. But once she had a pint in her hand she didn’t want to know me. She pointedly turned her back and went to sit with a friend, a smoke-blackened young man with a tidy whippet lurcher.
I retrieved my yoga mat from behind the bar and carried it and my pint out to the beer garden, where I got involved with an entirely new set of people who invited me to a party. And that’s how I went to my first party of the New Year, with a fag in my mouth and my rolled-up yoga mat under my arm.
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