She stood at a sink, washing her hands in the upstairs women’s bathroom at a pub in Islington, London. She was tipsy and merry; her body and soul warmed by the alcohol she had consumed. Momentarily, she glanced up at the mirror in front of her, and in the reflection she saw a familiar looking person standing next to her.
“You guys were fantastic tonight” she blurted like word vomit.
“Thank you so much” came the poised, pleased reply with a Scandinavian accent.
The woman was tall and slender, dressed in a black shift dress with a white collar, opaque tights and chunky heeled black ankle boots. Her platinum blonde hair was tied in a ponytail, held together by a thick black satin ribbon. She sported a blunt fringe, her eye makeup was smoky and her lipstick was taffy in colour.
It was the keyboardist from one of her favourite bands, an indie pop group from Sweden and twenty minutes prior had been the second time she had seen them live; the first being seven years earlier and more than fourteen thousand kilometres away.
They chatted animatedly about the show for a few minutes before parting ways.
She exited the bathroom elated and found her mischievous female English friend waiting for her at the bar with whiskey shots. She relayed the encounter she had just had. Her friend was also blonde and gorgeous, but half the height of the Swede, and only the fourth person she had ever met that had heard of the band.
Whenever they went out together it was guaranteed to be a good time, and that night was no exception. They had found out about the show only three days beforehand and managed to snag two of the last twenty tickets available. They had skipped a bus from Kings Cross station to walk to the pub instead, swigging Jamieson from a hip flask and giggling all the way.
“I want a friend in the band too” her friend whined playfully before scanning the room for the other band members.
She watched as her friend locked eyes on someone in the crowd. She followed her gaze and saw the bass player at the end of it. “Here we go” she thought to herself as she watched her friend sink her shot of whiskey, slam the glass on the bar counter and make a beeline for him. She stayed at the bar and watched on in equal awe and terror, downing her shot to help deal with the situation unfolding before her.
While her friend worked her charm, she stood at the bar, lost in drunken hazy thoughts. When she looked back over a couple of minutes later both her friend and the bass player were gesturing for her to come to them. He appeared highly amused.
There was something Pippin like about him. His hair was light brown and scruffy and his nose was pinched. He didn’t look like a stereotypical Swede. They were introduced by her friend and he offered to buy them a beer. She accepted without hesitation.
He was a highly intelligent and creative human, almost to the point of intimidating, but yet, at the same time he seemed completely humble and down to earth. They chatted about his relatives in her home city, his filming credentials and their mutual love of Stockholm. It was a relief to meet someone she had been a fan of for a while who didn’t disappoint her in person.
The next thing she knew, she and her friend were at the downstairs bar with every member of the band and their entourage, knocking back more whiskey shots. The enigmatic lead singer hovered near them and was like a puzzle to solve. She was highly skilled at reading people, and yet she couldn’t read him. He politely introduced himself and then that was all she got out of him before he disappeared back into the sea of Vikings.
The bass player never left her side however, and made sure she was introduced to anyone he knew that entered the vicinity. There was an ambiguous flirtation between them, which grew as the night went on.
Lord Huron’s ‘I will be back one day’ began playing. He took her hand, walked her to the centre of the room where there was a small clearing, placed one hand firmly on her waist, the other in her right hand, and in front of everyone led her in a slow, but casual dance. Every time he stretched her out away from him like a Yo-yo and brought her back in with a twirl she burst out laughing. She briefly felt like Baby from Dirty Dancing. They continued for two more songs she didn’t know the names of.
She was loving every second of the moment she was living in.
After more shots, beers and conversations she checked the time and discovered it was a lot later than she had thought it was. She had to be up for work in six hours, so regrettably said goodbye to the bass player with a kiss on the cheek and left him with her friend.
She was sitting alone at the bus stop outside the pub, waiting for the 73 to arrive and was reminiscing about the night she had just had when the lead singer and a couple of roadies stumbled out. He looked at her, shuffled towards her, kissed her on the mouth and thanked her for coming to her show before heading to the kebab shop next door. Clearly, a few drinks had coaxed him out of his shell.
She sat smugly until she abruptly threw up in the bin next to the bus stop. All the whiskey shots mixed with English ales had finally caught up to her.
It was definitely the right time to call it a night.