“We’re closing up soon,” she smiled, clutching the stack of empty pint pots to her chest.
You nodded across the room, watching her ass as she walked down the stairs. Don’t think I didn’t see that. I did.
I always did.
“So, what do you want to do now?” I asked, restraining the contempt behind my tonsils.
“What time is it?” you slurred.
“Late,” I replied, drawing my finger across the rim of my empty pint glass. “I have work tomorrow.”
But you already knew that.
You had been courting doting groupies for hours; star-struck students who went weak at the knees every time you mentioned those sticky, wooden floors in the centre of town.
Only the pretty girls got to see your guitar. The prettiest ones got an impromptu acoustic set.
And I sat, invisible, next to you. Smiling as you constructed glittering towers of half-truths and exaggerations to your zealots. I remember the evening which inspired the headline yarn you told all the girls; drinking until dawn with the drummer from The Smiths (or was it the bassist?).
“Guess who I just had a piss next to?” you squeaked, running back from the toilet.
But that was a long time ago; your first appearance in front of an inebriated crowd of old men. I was so proud of you. Of course, this was before you ‘went serious’, trading in your dad’s old guitar for that sleek monstrosity.
You stood up from the table, swiping your coat from the back of the chair.
“I’m going to meet the guys across the road,” you declared. “See you back at the ranch.”
I ran my thumb across the key in my pocket as you disappeared down the stairs. Your guitar was still leaning up against the side of the stage; an investment, you said at the time. I hope you didn’t think I was going to take that thing home for you.
The chords had all changed.