“Hello ladies, my name is Charles and I will be your waiter tonight,”he says in his slightly accented posh English.
We like Charles already. After all, being addressed as a lady is a rare thing. We try to return his “Hello” with equal charm. Can’t tell if we succeeded but we don’t have time to reflect on that. Happy hours are ending soon and there is a lot of alcohol to order. So, we immediately proceed to digging our heads into the cocktail menu. Beer is something that we don’t even mention once in our discussion. That is going to be ordered by default. In the midst of our deliberation over the choice of cocktails, I look at two of my closest friends and wonder how mystical and surreal being here with them actually is. But that doesn’t last long. “Six pints of beer, for now. We will order the cocktails soon,” I tell our charming waiter.
I am transported back to the time when we three were discussing oral sex for the first time. “What do you mean you put it in your mouth? They pee with that thing!” “I don’t know. I don’t know how people do that…” We three glanced at each other and let out a synchronous shudder. Now, sitting in a bar, sipping on our beer, it’s funny how we don’t seem to be affected by that shudder anymore. “So, all bases?” I am asked. “Well, you could say that.” I confess it with a surprising casual indifference. I am greeted back in the same way. “Uh! Cool.” Where has our shock been assimilated? How could there not be a trace of it? Perhaps I can find the abundance of it in the faces of twelve year old us, sitting on the bench in the classroom a decade ago. If they would have been sitting with us today, they would have killed me with disgust in their eyes. The pre-teenaged us wouldn’t just have stopped with the look. Next thing they would have done was to throw away our bottles, “What is this that you are drinking! Alcohol? We swore we would never do that!” We are perfectly fine with drinking now. In fact there’s a part of us, who can’t live without it. But we (at least I did) indeed swore that we would never consume this wretched liquid. Same thing went with cigarettes. Same thing went with broccoli. Same thing went with green tea. We have grown into liking both the health saviors and health destroyers at the same time. Well, the equation must be balanced, right?
“Forgot to ask, how was it though?” one of my friends asks. “Ah, what sex? Comme ci comme ca. Okay, I guess?” I reply. And like that we go back to our drinks. We are perfectly fine with boys asking us out. Back in school, that was a big deal. I suddenly get the flashbacks of some of our conversations from school – “What do you mean, you are chatting on messenger?” “Well, we have been doing that for past two weeks. Every day.” “What do you mean every day?” “Well, every day.” “Do you have a crush on him?” “No” my friend said blushing. “Is that a yes?” “No” My friend said nodding affirmatively. Wow, back then it used to be huge. “What happened to the guy you met on Tinder?” I ask her. “Meh” she replies. “Still talking even?” I ask further. “Yes” she says. “Then?” I ask. “Meh.”
By now we all are sipping on the last few drops of beer left in the bottle. Our eyes are droopy and our voices heavy and our conversations solely in English. “I am not drunk okay” my friend says. “I am never drunk okay,”the other friend replies. Yeah of course. English though – Ah! It gave me such a hard time in school. All those people with their fancy education in private high class schools spoke such fluent English. I envied them deeply. It was devastating because it took a toll on my public speaking skills. I was so scared of English. That insecurity is lost now. There are greater things to worry about.
It’s surreal in a way that we three are still this close. There were so many other people back in school with whom I had felt I had a ‘deep connection’. They are nothing but a name in my Facebook friend list now. How weird is this. I think you don’t choose friends but life chooses them for you. There are people who connect with you and to each one of those people there stand thousand others who don’t. It’s a bit tricky to find those people who know you like their favorite book. You might find a connection in some moments with a particular person but you have little control over its expiry date. People enter in your life as intersecting straight lines. They come, converge, intersect and diverge. On the other hand, there are people who never intersect but they run parallel with you for the rest of your life.
“Three Classic Martinis, please.” We have finally decided on the cocktails. Charles nods and throws a brief glance at the empty beer bottles at our table as if wondering whether we should be drinking more. Fifteen minutes later, he would be serving us another round of Martinis. The beer has already got our heads buzzed. We are laughing over stupid jokes. We are endlessly taking selfies. We are wondering how painfully overpriced the french fries are. Soon, we will head to the dance floor and dance for three hours straight with basically everyone present in the club. We are going to discuss this night for weeks, maybe years. We are going to be amazed how amazing it was. But for now, I just look at these two people and cringe at my cheesiness but it’s true – they do mean the world to me. These two fuckers are my parallel lines.