His friend, R, was an artist as well. R worked at the school where she worked as the art teacher. He knew R through the world renowned artist professor that had once also supported T. T was out of the picture for good. Word had gotten to he and she that T cut off everyone in the small city where they had all attended college and moved out to Seattle with his fiancé. She had had a bad feeling about T back when they met, one that proved to be accurate, but she felt that R had the potential to be a good friend. As much as she had seemed against all of the friends he had picked over the years, it wasn’t because she wanted to cordon him off from the world, it was because she wanted him to find someone who would be an actual friend to him rather than use him up, lie to him, and spit him back out.
R had invited them to an art show where several of his pieces would be displayed. It was about an hour and a half away, but they decided to carpool and R even offered to pay for a hotel room with two beds for the three of them to spend the night. He was excited for the exposure to more of the art culture, feeling a bit deflated with his own art and craving inspiration. It was the art and the idea of a night out on the town, one of which he was unfamiliar that was enticing. She was excited to get out of the apartment and do something that brought her back to her ripe age of 22. Being pregnant tended to rob her of feeling young and invincible. She was caring for two now and the responsibility was growing. This night would show a glimpse of her old life, the one where he and she would occasionally bar hop and stay out too late.
They stopped at R’s house to pick him up before the extended ride to the art show. It didn’t seem all that long from the music and conversations that filled the time. Upon arrival, they checked into the hotel commenting on how swanky it was. They were accompanied in the lobby by the distinct smell of cigarette, age, and two life sized native american indians on an old couch. The room was just as interesting with its living area equipped with a fridge and the duck drawings that were bolted to the wall as though they were at risk of being stolen. “Where should we eat?” R asked the group as they headed out into the quaint town. It was unanimously undecided that they would just walk toward the art gallery until they saw a restaurant that looked appetizing. He and R carried some snacks for the event to the gallery, hoping to quickly drop them off before it began and before they decided to sit down and eat. It was a quick drop as they asked a local where good food was. Since the boys would be drinking, they decided to go for a heavier meal that wasn’t sushi, and went all out with an authentic Mexican restaurant.
“This is going to be fun,” He expressed to R as they ordered their first round of drinks. She wasn’t as enthused, knowing her night would be filled with water and a lot of walking around. By this time, they were all starving, munching on chips and salsa until their meals arrived. This was the part that she had ben excited about: Food! Pregnancy tended to make that something worth getting excited about. He and R started their night of drinking with two beers, ready to head over to the event where free wine was being served in sumptuous amounts.
The three began the night in the back room, the boys instantly filling tiny plastic cups with the red sticky liquid that would get them through four hours of standing. He kissed she on the cheek and placed a hand on her pregnant belly. “I’m sorry sweetie.” He cooed in her ear, feeling somewhat guilty that she couldn’t partake in the nights lively events and could only act as a fly on the wall.
“It’s fine love. We haven’t gotten away in a while. I’m happy if you’re having a good time.” When she said it, she really meant it. It made her feel as though she was completing a selfless task out of love for the soon to be father of her child.
It was art galore. Swarms of people circled the tiny gallery, talking through their individual plastic cups and enjoying the sights of surrealist art. The music was eclectic as a woman sat in the corner decorating the faces of those with already slipping inhibitions. He was constantly filling his cup and alternating trips to the bathroom as the night crept on. “I feel so inspired,” He said looking at the filled walls of art, “I just want to go home and make something or paint.” She nodded, understanding the sudden spark of creativity. It must have been the atmosphere that ignited the passion in everyone, mixed with the increasing number of those with a buzz. There were paper airplanes being thrown as part of one band’s interest in bringing others to a time of youth, and artists standing around critiquing pieces while pushing their own. It was a frenzy and to her it felt long. Toward the end of the event, the swarm turned to a sprinkle, which soon went deserted. He had been throwing paper planes around with a young boy, drunk at this point and attempting to show her that he was good with kids. It was nearing 10:30 as he, she, and R sat in the back room with a little girl, age 4. R was teaching her with great effort how to draw a snake. “I wish I was that good with kids.” He said watching R teach the girl with patience, though R was drunk at this point as well.
“Baby, he teaches art. I’m sure with practice you will be like that too. Jut give yourself a chance.” He nodded and kissed her. The taste of the grape wine causing her to feel a gentle pang of jealousy, but she let it pass. There were two women left, both owners of the gallery that were ready to go out on the town. One was the mother of the boy he had played with earlier, the other, also a mother of a child who wasn’t present at the event, were left to close. R was interested in the one with the 2-year-old, attempting to fashion a connection together the whole night. The woman was young and from Columbia though her face at this point was masked with face paint that looked like a starry night sky and the sun.
He was getting friendly with the older woman as they sat down at the first bar. It was filled with locals and people already off to a good start. All she wanted was food, as everyone ordered a hamburger. His attention seemed drawn away from her and mores at this woman. Knowing him, she tried not to get jealous, he normally was friendly and just wanted to make friends besides, this woman had two kids and was engaged. This didn’t stop her though from getting his phone number and email as she sat idly by. They discussed chatting when he had some art to display, which was perfectly innocent. A tall man with dreads walked into the bar. “That guy looks like Laurent from Twilight!” She told him quietly. He nodded in agreement and swung his whole body around to face the man.
“She thinks you look like the guy from Twilight.” He exclaimed, the man laughed not knowing the reference. She was mortified, her inhibitions still fully present as her face went bright red.When everyone had completed their round and burgers, they decided to move to the next bar.
“Did anyone pay for the burgers and drinks?” R asked he and she. Everyone shook their head. R took the opportunity to run out as he and she quickly followed.
Outside it was cold. He had his arm around her, which she used for warmth forgetting to grab her sweater before they headed out for the night. She at least had a scarf on. The second bar was much different from the first. They were hosting a rap battle on their stage that the group, which now added two more women, began to laugh at. The other two women were older as well, one was married and the other was married with three children. The older owner of the gallery was still somewhat clingy on him, which was increasingly getting on her nerves the drunker everyone got and the more sober and tired she felt. He wasn’t exactly fending the woman off, though at this stage of drunk he was constantly apologizing for things at random and going back and forth between feeling like no one liked him and feeling awesome. It was a roller coaster of a night, especially when the woman dared him to get up against these random guys and dance as hysterically as they were. He did, and they crept closer to the stage, not coming back until she physically went to retrieve him. They all decided to leave after R broke a glass by accident that had sat on one of the tables.
This led them to the final bar. One everyone else forgot and only she wished she could have been as lucky. He was getting touchy feely with each girl, grabbing their hands and holding them. Finally, she scolded his actions, getting more and more furious by the moment. The woman began getting handsy as well. Essentially, at this point, the clock nearing 2am, she was done with it. It wasn’t fun for her, nor comical, it was just painful. They did finally leave. All the women surrounding getting tired and hungry. She had cut him off a while back, since she knew when he had had too much from experience. “You are the most beautiful girl in the world and I love you and this baby. Oh my God, I love this baby so much.” He said to her, looking her deep in the eye. What was one night of him being somewhat of a douche? He loved her and always would. The gang stopped at a hotdog place with the last stop being the hotel. The girls weren’t allowed up due to the hotel policy: No visitors past 10. They had apparently had a hooker problem in the past, which made her relieved. He and she went up without R, who followed the gallery owners back to the gallery to hang out. He and she got ready for bed as she took care of him and stroked his hair and back. At 2:30, they were able to sleep, though not comfortably. R had returned in the night and in the morning, she drove the still somewhat drunk boys back home.