The three of us were sat at a bar table. You were cuddling M and I was wondering how many shots of tequila gave me a pass to the bathroom. By which I mean to ask, is there an optimum number of shots at which point retiring to the little boy’s room signals attending to the bladder and not the gut?
You ordered another round, the squat glasses rapping the table in time to an old rock & roll tune. The cuddle was becoming kissing Twister™ and I wanted to sit in the bathroom, alone.
They say a bathroom tells you everything you need to know about an establishment. The mirror was peeling at the sides, graffiti ricocheted across plywood stalls and once white walls; Jonny hates Meaghan but was forever trapped in a love heart with Lauren, a sticker advertising high-end vodka and a pair of neatly drawn pricks. I shuddered at the flush of a neighbouring stall – I hadn’t noticed the shoes, scuffed, black. Had I been talking to myself? He ambled to the sink and ran the tap – quality ham sandwiches have been made in the time he took to wash his hands.
The door squealed shut. I pulled out my phone and considered setting an alarm, some limit on this hideout of mine. I decided the idea was stupid. Ten feet above me (and slightly towards the sink) I imagined their hands tracing secretive patterns and the almost pleading look in his eyes as her attention momentarily turned to a bottle of beer. The way they carried on, you’d think he was en route to a deployment in Kandahar.
I opened a web page and searched third wheel in other languages. Since I am nothing more than musical accompaniment, Spanish speakers from Chile have me stood tableside with violin. Given love is as natural as breathing, Thai sees me as a bone lodged in the throat. The French and Portuguese have stuck a candle in my hands, presumably since the keenest thought of two lovers is to put me out and start fucking in the dark.
Back upstairs, I thought of introducing my bathroom discovery as a toast, but one look at M’s immaculate nails holding my friend’s ear convinced me otherwise. I took one shot, then another, and wondered if, perhaps, it was time to go.