We walked through a group of drunk people on Red River in downtown Austin. All the bars were closed.
“Would you like to go get some coffee somewhere?” He asked.
“Oh Darling, You’ll be up for days if you have coffee now!” I replied.
“Honey, you know me so well.”
We played a happy couple, that had been together forever. We were pretending to be madly in love.
Let’s rewind a few hours.
I was at work, waiting for 1AM so I could drink a beer and go to sleep. On iChat, a co-worker said, “Let’s go downtown!” 12:57. I said, “I would, but my hair looks disgusting.” “That’s what hats are for.” Crap! 12:58 and my phone rang, and I had to talk to a customer about the differences between two computers. The customer sounded drunk, and I was ready to get out of there. Calls just before you get off work could go on forever. I’ve been on the phone and hour and a half after a shift should have ended before. Luckily, the customer hung up on me while I was mid-sentence at about 1:04, and I grabbed some clothes and found a hat and tried to quickly run out the door.
"Sooooooooo. Where you going in that hat?" Roommate Nick asked.
“Shut up. My hair is gross and I’m going downtown.”
“Where you going downtown in that hat?” Roommate Nick replied.
“Not sure, maybe Barbarella.”
“Shiiiiit! You’re going dancing in that hat! That’s a dancing hat!” Roommate Eric said.
“Just so you know, your male roommates do NOT approve of you going out downtown alone in that hat.”
“I hate both of you.”
“Don’t you mean you *hat* us?”
I parked, got downtown, and made my way to Barbarella. I stood in line and texted my co-worker. “I’m in line at Barb, are you here? I will kill you.” I got to the door, and there was a 3 dollar cover, that I embarrassingly didn’t have; who carries cash?
I gave up on the co-worker and Barbarella, and went down a few blocks to Beerland. I texted a guy I had met there a few weeks ago, sort of as a precaution to know if I was about to run into him.
“Are you downtown by chance? I came down to meet a friend from work but I can’t find him and I’ll be damned if I ran down here for nothing.”
Not exactly an, “I’d love to see you!” but I didn’t want to come on too strong, or possibly misleading. It was really just the truth.
I ordered a Gin and Tonic, and smiled at a guy with glasses and a plaid shirt (in Austin that’s not really a description.)
A band of three people played. Three girls danced in front of them. I determined that one must be a girlfriend- the bored looking one, because she had probably seen them play a million times and was over it. The skinny one dancing a lot with her hips was going to have a fling of sorts with one of them soon. The third was just hopelessly crushing on one of them. They seemed young, she’d find someone else.
While I was being a dating-fortune-reader, I was sipping my Gin. I smiled at the glasses man again. I watched the band for a while and they finished up. Someone that worked at the bar came in between the man in glasses and me, singing and dancing and putting some dirty pints on the bar.
"He seems to be having a good night." The glasses-man said.
“Seems so.” I said
“How’s your night?”
“Good, I just got off work and was trying to meet a co-worker down here, but he isn’t answering his phone. I hope he’s all right, now that I think about it.”
“Where do you work?”
I grabbed a business card out of my purse and I gave it to him and said, “I’ve always wanted to give a guy one of these at a bar.”
"NO WAY!" He said, and then he laughed for a solid minute. I laughed too, I had hoped he’d find it funny. I wasn’t seriously trying to get his business or anything.
“I work in IT.” He said. He couldn’t find a business card of his own, so he showed me his license.
The bar was officially closed. He invited me to his hotel - I shot him a look like how DARE he- and he said “No! I mean the lobby. The bar will be closed, but we can sit there anyway.”
I was in the mood for conversation, so I said that’d be fine. We sat and talked about work and traveling.
“I have to go to the bathroom.” He said and got up. Then, he looked at me and sat back down, “I’ll wait.”
“Um. You can go..” I said.
“I’m afraid you’ll leave if I go anywhere.” I laughed at him and told him I cross my heart hope to die stick a needle in my eye promise I’ll be there when he gets back.
He went, and came back and I was still there, and we talked some more. I finally said I needed to go. He said he’d walk me to my car. On our way, he tickled me to steal my hat. I chased him. He held my hat high in the air, and I ran and jumped and used his shoulder with my arm as a brace to get higher off the ground. Modern dance style. He tickled me and I held up fists.
"Please don’t go yet, we just started playing and it’s so fun. Do you know when you see old couples and what makes them stay in love forever and get so old together?"
“They’re so playful! They’re all old and in love still, and it’s because they’re playful.”
I said fine, and that we could go for a walk. I was mostly hoping Hoboken was open, and I could get a slice of pizza.
We walked down Red River, and pretended to be an old couple and walked through the drunks.
Hoboken was closed, but I was still in the mood for a walk.
"Do you want to go to the capitol? I hear it’s really nice at night." I had warned him it was kind of far; I actually had no idea how far.
We walked and it wasn’t that far. There was a hill and he whined, “Oh this hiiiiill. I can’t believe you’re making me walk this faaaar!”
"Oh goodness, poor baby. Are there not hills in LA? God love it, poor little thing all the way from Los Angeles has to walk up this big ole hill. And in this humidity! It’s just horrible!"
He laughed and picked me up and ran with me up the hill. “Good job calling me on my bullshit, that’s why I like you.”
The capitol was gorgeous at night, and we sat on a bench and talked about love. He said it gets better every time. I said I wasn’t sure if it was something that happened more than once, or at least not something that would happen more than once for me. I kind of see it as a past tense thing. A thing that happened to me once and I’m done with. I quickly said that I know that’s bullshit, but I do think that sometimes. He told me I’m young. Which I am.
We walked back to my car, and I yanked his hand and we stared at a giant bullfrog in the middle of downtown Austin. Only in Texas. We made it all the way back to my car, parked infront of Mohawk, and there were flowers all over the ground. Someone had sprinkled, or possibly thrown off a balcony, tons of pink flowers. Everywhere.
"What are all these flowers?!" I said very excitedly. He quickly grabbed a bunch off the ground and kneeled with them, presenting them to me.
"I put them all here for you, darling."
Now, I wish we had just left it at that. A pretended night of being in pretend-love. We didn’t. We went to lunch the next day and it was okay.