In the early night
He thought the night was just beginning.
There had been lights, brightly welcoming. There had been voices calling him. Voices of men were steady and strong, clearly heard calling across crowded rooms. Warm and smooth were the voices of women, flowing towards him like fine wine wine sliding down the sides of cut glass.
Small wonder he thought the night would last forever, that it was just beginning.
He slapped backs while his was slapped in turn. At humour only half-heard he laughed heartily. All the while he savoured the smiling camaraderie, the way the company pleased him, the way he felt he pleased the company.
Wandering around he soon noticed her.
In some way he couldn’t quite understand, she seemed to stand apart. It wasn’t as if she was silent. It wasn’t as if she wasn’t part of the continually changing crowd. Even when there were ebbings and flowings of crowds coming and going, he could see she was still there. In the midst of eddies of romantic endeavours, she was still there. Among the swirling streams of speech, she was still there.
All the time, he could see, she smiled, she nodded in an attentive way, listening, speaking, engaging. He liked what he saw, was intrigued by what he overheard.
Some visits to the bar later he found himself approaching her with drinks in hand, one an offering for her. Chatting with her felt easy. It seemed harmless enough, idle, light, aimless. Still, it was conversation and he loved it.
When she smiled, he smiled in turn. When he smiled, she smiled in reply.
Definitely, he thought, this night was just beginning.
She was certain the night had ended an hour before.