When Naesala gets out of the cab, he sighs, massaging the bridge of his nose.
That asshole really tried to sell this short ride at the triple of the usual price. To him. Did he really take him for a fool? An idiot tourist who’d fall for this charade?
- But it’s late sir -, he even had the nerve to say. Late. As if it isn’t Saturday night, as if it wasn’t just 11pm.
That day has been very shitty already, but this definitely takes the cake. At least he managed not to pay what the cab driver said he owned, but even so his mood isn’t any better.
At least he can enjoy a nice night at his favorite bar, drinking his favorite drink and then… who knows.
Sure, he’s not that young anymore, but he isn’t even decrepit come on. He can still enjoy life!
He steps inside, but he has to stop immediately, horror obvious on his face.
It’s Saturday night. It’s 11pm.
The bar is already full.
Someone up there must hate him, because he can’t understand how so many things can go wrong in just one day.
He could easily walk away, take another cab and get home. He could get wasted at home – it’s not like he lacks any kind of alcoholic beverage there. Wouldn’t it be sad, though? Getting drunk all sad and alone? Yes, it definitely would be.
However, he’s stopped before he can turn away and leave by a member of the staff. He doesn’t even know his name but he has seen him around enough to recognize him – he’s a habitué after all.
- Looking for a place, sir? -.
Just say no and get out.
- Yes -.
- Mmh -, the waiter looks around, deep in thought, - I’ll see what we can do. It’s pretty packed already -.
- I can see that -.
The waiter motions to follow him.
- We can look around, but I’m afraid you’ll have to share a table with somebody else -.
Ugh. This is just great.
- As long as I get a drink -, he sighs.
Every second that passes, Naesala regrets his decision more and more, even as they finally manage to find a spot at a table with another man, a man that Naesala has never met – he would’ve remembered that ridiculous pink hair if he ever saw it, so yeah he must be new around.
At least he’s gotten a spot beside the window, and looking outside he manages to tune out the noise and the mess, now only white noise to him.
Maybe he might be able to actually relax after all…
- Hey! -.
… Or maybe not.
If stares could kill, Naesala is sure that the annoying man in front of him would be dead, but alas he possesses no such power.
He all but grunts at this stranger, hoping that maybe he’ll get the message, but unfortunately it’s all in vain as the stranger waves a hand in front of his eyes – and who gave him permission to get so close?
- Hellooooo??? Are you there???? -.
- What do you want?! -, Naesala snaps, swatting away the offending hand.
- Oooooh… -, the stranger says, as if he understood some remote truth about the universe that mankind will never hope to achieve, - I see, I see -.
Naesala knows he should just ignore him, but now he’s curious – although just a bit – about what he means with that.
- What is it? -.
- You really need a drink -.
Well… as irritating as this is, he’s not completely wrong. Naesala really needs a drink.
Still, shame on him for thinking that this was going somewhere.
When his drink finally arrives, Naesala couldn’t be more grateful for it: since that dude in front of him opened his mouth, he never stopped closing it, much to his irritation. He doesn’t have the bare idea of what he’s talking about; he understands what the words he’s saying mean singularly, but not when they’re put together like that.
He almost downs his drink in one go, but decides against it at the last second. He wants to enjoy this, and he won’t if he gets wasted too soon.
There’s a bitter taste in his mouth, but it’s that kind of bitter that he finds pleasing. He takes another sip and then another, and before he can stop himself, he actually finishes it. Talk about “enjoying it”.
He always knew he was a mess, but damn, he thought he had some standards.
Oh well, might as well drink to that.
The more time passes, the more drinks he downs, the more that night turns pleasant. Ah, the power of alcohol.
Even the gibberish the dude in front of him is spouting begins to make more sense. To clarify, it makes less sense than before, but in a weird way, Naesala understands him better now than he did before.
He has no idea about how this process works and he surely doesn’t care about analyzing it now. He just lets it happen.
Wouldn’t be a nice moment of relaxation if he used his brain too much, wouldn’t it?
He doesn’t get completely wasted – he’d still like to maintain a certain dose of dignity thank you very much – but around him, it all begins become a pleasant blur.
He’s also pleased to find that this trip to the bar is turning out to be less gloomy than what he anticipated. He usually never does this kind of stuff alone, because when you’re alone it’s not fun: you actually get to think about stuff, you get lost inside your brain, and nothing good ever comes out of this. When you’re with others, they manage to keep you distracted enough not to do it, or at least this is how it works for Naesala.
But today he had a really bad day, and he wanted to unwind somehow, and as much a smoking three packs of cigarettes in one go would be self-destroying enough for Naesala, he wasn’t in the mood for that, so drinking alone it is.
If he has to be quite honest… he’s not having just a bad day, he’s having a bad time in general.
Sometimes – but only sometimes – the weight of all the shady things he has to do to keep Kilvas’ company in business catches up to him, and this is one of those times.
He just… how long can he go on before it becomes too much? He has no idea. He only knows that, if he doesn’t want people to lose their jobs and die of starvation, he has to be strong.
He usually manages, but even he has limits, limits that unfortunately he cannot show to anyone, because the world is a bitch and someone could exploit his weaknesses – been there done that already.
And yet, even in such a gloomy period for him, he decides to go to his favorite bar, and it’s hell to even get there, and then he meets this dude, this dude who is incredibly stupid.
It’s so dumb that it actually manages to bring a genuine smile to his face. He even laughs! These are the most genuine shows of mirth he’s had in a very long time, and it’s when he’s alone at a bar with a stupid pink man telling his stupid tales.
Sometimes he really doesn’t understand life.
When it’s time to get back home – because as much as he wanted to “party hard”, he still has work tomorrow, so he’d like at least one good hour of sleep thank you very much – he almost finds himself reluctant to do so.
He had gotten himself acclimated to all this, but alas, he must play the part of the responsible adult.
- Leaving already? -.
The dude looks like a puppy that has just got kicked by its owner, and it must be the alcohol in his system, but Naesala kinda feels guilty.
- Yeah… I need to leave -, is all his says, and he doesn’t even give the other the time to say something else as he gets up and goes to pay his tab. He doesn’t want to risk being roped into staying more and especially drinking more, or else things might actually go bad.
Now he’ll just have to call a cab, and then home sweet home…
Should he… no he shouldn’t, but maybe…
Ah, fuck it.
He slides another couple of bills on the counter.
- For my friend who’s still there -, he says, before making his way out of the bar.
This absolutely isn’t something he normally does – and even now he’s kicking himself mentally for his impulsiveness – but… c’mon, he managed to keep him distracted enough to make him avoid having some very dark thoughts, he deserves it.
Of course, this is the first and last time he does something similar, but hey, maybe now that he did a good thing, the world will stop giving him so much shit all at once.
It’s now that he realizes that he doesn’t even know this man’s name.
Eh, who cares? It’s not like they’re going to meet ever again – or at least he hopes so. As much as he enjoyed it this time, he’d rather not repeat the experience again.
Still, at least this time he supposes he can be a bit grateful for him, and as he finally gets inside a cab, truly ready to get home, he can only think about this:
“Thank you, random man at the bar, for bringing some laughs to this otherwise shitty night. May we never meet again”