Date Night

5 Mar

Originally published in Blue Fifth Review, February 2013

At The Spice of Life pub at Cambridge Circus, gay couples mingle with football fans here to watch Croatia beat Germany. Then it’s over and we’re out roaming Soho: wine bars, sushi bars, barred from going downstairs in the overheated Polar Bear pub, so I wander into the cool air of Chinatown with its gentle frying smells and multi lit-up archways. Our first kiss took place in one of the pointed phone boxes following a midnight meal, after we failed to get into the Wag Club before it was turned into a fun pub. He tasted of wasabi and spring evenings, thrilling me all the way down. Six months later, we’re here again.

We stroll and stray for circular miles, then climb over the fence of St Anne’s to sit in the churchyard. We watch men dancing on cars in Wardour Street while Centrepoint burns vertically above us, shining up the sky. His hands rest on my hips and suddenly, a big happy pub cascades out onto the road shouting that the toilet is overflowing, then they flood back in for a surge of last minute lager orders. He takes my hand as we leave the church to sit on the wall outside the pub and smoke and drink pints of tap water until 1 a.m., when everyone starts to sing New York, New York and do the can-can.

We walk to Trafalgar Square, arguing about falafels and minicabs, and he shouts: “Why don’t you go get the fucking bus then?” and I wonder what I see in him but he kisses my neck and off we go again through Charing Cross and Villiers Street walking manic and alive and people and no bedtime, ending up on the Embankment, where he skins up and I run across the cars to stare at the Thames billowing like a dark rain cloud. Fall in love with London for the seventeenth time: London, bright and beaming, London, calm and black. I stand on Queen’s Walk at 2 a.m. trying to flag down taxis, finally find one to take us over Tower Bridge, but no further because he’s going back to Canvey Island. We walk back to his place to get slowly stoned and eat bagels and I lie awake until five, listening to him snoring, holding a fingerful of the soft flesh that explains why I’m here. When we fuck, twice, in the morning, he murmurs my name but I don’t believe him.

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