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Orange Juice Man

I need a re-fill. Now.

I should have bought three drinks last time. Stupid. Now I’m being squashed as I try and make my way to the front. The venue is heaving. It’s shoulder to shoulder. Burly men holding pints push past me. Unimpressed girls give me sideways glances as I make my way through the crowd.

I get picked up by a sudden surge of bodies, they move me forward like the crest of a wave. I’m spat out at the bar where I get crushed again from behind as people lean over me to stake their claim. My chest presses against the bar. It would hurt if I wasn’t drunk. I push back, as if to say ‘Give me some space!’ but the horde responds by pushing harder.

I manage to dig my wallet out of my top pocket. I unfold it without my elbows touching the soggy beer mats that are floating on a river of dregs an inch below. I slide out a note, then stand waving it at the barman like a child with a flag on Coronation day.

It’s so busy. Everyone is vying for attention. The barman takes each order except mine. It makes me feel insignificant. I’m not tall enough or pretty enough. Just when I think I’ve caught his eye his head turns in the opposite direction.

‘Who’s next? He says.

A sweaty guy looming over me looks down. I give him a look that penetrates his soul,

‘If you dare order your drink I’m going to rip out your throat with my bare hands!’

‘Er, she’s next’ he says in a quiet sweet voice.

Too bloody right I’m next.

But, just before the words come, a handsome man with white blonde hair heads me off at the pass.

He squeezes in and says,

‘Oh sorry, I forgot to get my orange juice’

What?

Orange juice?

Not only had this gorgeous Viking pushed in front of me, he’s also ordered a juice.

A Juice! On a Friday night. What a total tosser.

I look at him. Scan the top half of his body. My face screws up like a bad smell had filled my nostrils. I am utterly disgusted.

The barman tips some ice into a tall glass from a metal scoop then presses a button on his hand-held drink dispenser. It squirts out until the ice cubes float above the rim.

The viking smiles and takes his alcohol-free juice from the barman.

‘Cheers’

And off he goes.... back into the pub, to his boring night with his boring friends.

I’m annoyed. The barman grins at me. I order a glass of wine and two shots of Sambuca.

I stand there in the wake of the soda-pop warrior and neck the shots before the thick base of the shot glass has even touched the surface of the bar. 'I'll show him how it's done' I think. As the strong liquor hits the back of my throat a bit of sick pops up to say hello and I swallow it back just like a proper hardened drinker should.

Then, before I pay, I order two more.

I hold my wine in one hand and balance the shots on top of one another in the other. I push forward to make a pathway and with a bit of shoulder jostling, I plop out near the table where my friends are sitting.

They’ve all deteriorated since I left. They’re leaning into each other and talking loudly. Straps have slid from shoulders and perfect red lip stick is smeared. Chests are blotchy and there are a few men leeching around the harem.

I put my drinks down on the table and neck another shot before I sit. I feel really drunk. My vision is wonky, blurred, but I don't consider going home. I squint to focus and notice the man with the white blonde hair standing near the cigarette machine. He’s slanting over to the side. He looks uncomfortable as he tries to lower himself to the height of a girl that’s shouting in his ear. He can’t hear her. He's shaking is head as if to say 'Sorry, it's too loud.'


I can see optimism in her. She likes him. He is sweet, gesturing with a thumbs up to say ' Yeah I'm having a good night.' There is an air of kindness about him and something else that I cant quite decipher.


I watch on as the girls gives up on conversation and instead begins a flirtatious dance. She's drunk, really drunk. She keeps losing her footing and almost falling over. I watch her encircle him like a killer whale stalks its prey. Then she goes in for the attack, she lurches forward and tries to attach her face to his.

He's quick. Does a discreet sidestep and the girl lunges past him. It’s a swift move that nearly ends in a medical emergency, but the girl finds her feet before her head slams into the fire hydron behind them. He apologises and she disappears.

The exchange is over. He saunters to the opposite corner with blushed cheeks and a look of relief.

This little scenario gets me wondering...

If he’d been drinking, would they have kissed right then? Would he have gone home with her? or shagged down the alleyway next to the ‘Utopia’ nightclub?

Probably. Everyone in this place was planning a grapple in the laneway or at least a sloppy snog. Even me. I'm getting wasted. Hoping to find someone to mate with. A bang. I plan on waking up the next day with no idea of what I've done and then I'm going to lie in bed all morning wondering why he left without saying goodbye.


It's what we humans do when we are 23 and on a girls night out. It's what we all do... every Saturday, week in, week out.


Except him.

This man has chosen not to do what everyone else is doing.

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