Friday nights in Washington aren’t really that exciting unless you have plans. Lucky for me, I did - two weeks in a row.
While discussing our, what was going to be, boring Friday nights, Madeline told me she was taking me to a bar: “Wetherspoons?” I said, “Are you sure I’ll get in?” I was quite hesitant. I’d heard tales, most probably myths, about this place and wasn’t so sure. I reluctantly agreed and we said we’d meet at 7:30pm.
At 7:30pm I left and walked up to Madeline’s. Her mother had agreed to take us there.
When we got there I was pretty nervous. Madeline and I detoured into a small supermarket so she could buy some ‘Marlborough Lights’. Once she had them, we walked up the street until we got to ‘Wetherspoons’.
Inside, Madeline scanned the room for ‘Joe’ while I generally scanned the room, taking in as much as I could. I remember thinking to myself: ‘I want to be like a sponge, absorbing as much as I could.’ I was drunk when I thought this; it’s not something I’d usually think.
We spent the night getting drink on ‘Corona and Lime’ and smoking cigarettes, I still had some left from Jason’s party.
My drunken self had a thought: Was this really as bad as I had heard, or even anticipated? I was still waiting to be mugged, beaten up or shot. In reality, it wasn’t that bad.
During our, frequent, trips to relieve ourselves Madeline received a text message from her current boyfriend, we’ll call him ‘Adam’. ‘Adam Stevenson’ was from London and training to be a chemist. She earlier told me “he knows his work is boring so we generally don’t talk about it.”
“So, who’s it from? ‘Adam’? ‘Joe’? Tell me!” I insisted.
“It’s from ‘Adam’, he say’s he might be coming down with his friends.” She informed me.
My stomach sunk. Then once I was over the initial shock of actually meeting Madeline’s new boyfriend, I smiled. I was excited. From what I’d heard, he was nice, nicer than ‘Joe’.
After more drinks, and more cigarettes, we were both pretty drunk.
“Shit, it’s ‘Adam’.” Madeline told me.
I looked around, trying to spot his yellow t-shirt. “Where?” I enquired, standing while I searched.
She ordered me to sit down. I did. A couple of minutes later ‘Adam’ strolled over and I just sat, nodding my head, trying to act more sober than I was. We spoke, well, when I say ‘we spoke’ it was mostly Madeline and ‘Adam’ speaking while I was nodding my head, making sure I didn’t put my foot in it.
He left and sat with his friends, of course, Madeline commented on this to me when he’d gone.
She said something like: “Fine. Bastard!” and I agreed. We left around twenty minutes later. We wandered down the street to ‘The Tavern’, a bar where my uncle works as the DJ. I told Madeline about how at Jason’s party, Jason kissed our friends’ then girlfriend Kaci. She seemed shock, but maybe it was just the alcohol.
“So yeah, you remember Kaci? Well, Jason apparently kissed her, as in seriously kissed her.” I told her.
I don’t remember her reply. It was something derogatory. What I didn’t tell Madeline at that time was how I had started liking Kaci.
I drank more as the night went on, as did Madeline. Eventually we figured it was time to go and we waited for Madeline’s mother to come get us.
The Friday after I went to the Newcastle ‘Eagles’ basketball game, along with 7,000 other people. They won, and I had lost my voice by the time the match had finished. Tanya and Marissa persuaded me to go out with them so I phoned Madeline and we arranged to meet at ‘The Tavern’.
We met her and I got semi-drunk. Drunk enough I thought it would be ok for me to text Kaci. I asked Marissa what she thought.“Maybe I should text Kaci. What do you think?”
“No. Don’t do it. You’ll regret it!” She seemed pretty sure that I shouldn’t do it.
We moved onto ‘The Delaware’ after and that’s when ‘Adam’ surprised Madeline by showing up.
“Shit! There’s Adam.” She said it without moving her lips. I looked over and saw him walking towards us.
“Not drunk tonight then?” He said to me.
“No, not really.” I said, grinning...embarrassed.
Eventually, Marissa, Tanya and I left and we got into a taxi. When I got home I texted Kaci.
Kaci Scott was a year younger than me. Her beauty seemed to entice me. After Jason’s party, her then boyfriend and her split up and Jason asked her out. It seemed so wrong for Kaci and Jason to be girlfriend/boyfriend. They just weren’t compatible. When I found out my stomach dropped. It was only then did I realise how much I liked her and how much I wanted to be the one going out with her. Jason didn’t care - he was desperate. The first cut seemed to be the deepest. I was just waiting for something worse to happen, something that would take my mind of Jason and Kaci.
“Hi Kaci. I know I’ll probably regret this when I'm sober but so. I know you’re going out with Jason but I really, really, really like you. I don’t know. It’s strange. Text me back, Noah x.”
That morning I woke up. My head was banging and I had this feeling that I’d done something I knew I’d regret. I was right. I remember sending her a text message. I felt like a shit-head. I had to face her Monday morning. Jason was in Austria, skiing and probably fucking some random girl.
I had a thought: would Jason really mind if I ‘stole’ Kaci from him?
I talked to Madeline on the phone the next morning:“I sent her a text message, a fucking text message.”
“What did it say?” she asked.
“Something about me really, really liking her and regretting sending this when I'm sober. Oh fuck, what have I done?” I’d been questioning myself, and running my hands through my hair, all day.
“Has she replied yet?”
“No. What if she’s told Jason?” I worried that this could be the end of the fourteen-year long friendship I’d had with him.
“To be honest Noah, I really don’t think Jason would mind if you and Kaci got together. I honestly don’t think he would.” She told me.
“You think?” I sat and wondered all day after the phone call. What would I say to her on Monday? What if she didn’t get it? What if she’d told Jason? All of these “what ifs” were running through my mind. I guess I’d have to wait until Monday morning.