My experiments with the night have been timid. For instance, I've never driven tipsy. Nor have I ever been out wallet-less, post dusk.
And it makes sense, I suppose, because I'm all for retreating into the known and familiar. It gets depressing after a while, always doing the same things, taking every minute precaution. But we take comfort in these depressing minutiae, we, the urban gutless, creatures of routine and monthly checkups at the doctor's and bottled water and safety pins and floor-gazing.
I'd just walked my date back to her place. Beautiful girl. Over dinner, she held forth about some activism she supports vehemently, an indie band she's close to (but not THAT close to) and that new vegan restaurant. I loved it all.
We'd met last week. Friend of a friend. You can't be further separated than that, else it's too arranged. On the other hand, a degree lesser creates an awkward closeness. What's new to talk about? How do you newly touch?
I was under dressed. Sports jacket and trousers, she, backless and stilettos, but the conversation went well. I nodded and smiled all evening.
This was our second date and I was part impatient, part relieved that it wasn't our third, because I'm always nervous about the nightcap when offered.
So after we hastily cheek-pecked at her door, I turned and left, just slightly flushed. I liked her. I realized that, because four steps down, I peek-checked from corner of eye to see if she'd shut the door or if she was still there. I know she was still there. Behind the shut door. Sure of it.
Now I had the night for company. And what a night. All contradictions and whatnots. Noisy on the outside, still within. The hurried footfall of l'etrangers and the much longed for loving loveliness of lovely loves. Still fairly flushed, in case you were wondering.
I got mugged not five minutes later. I wish I'd listened to her - she'd told me to take the money from my wallet and split it between my various pockets.
I was now wallet-less, and out six tenners. I was also ID-less, with my cards and license flitting down the street, cloistered in the cold company of a possibly fake S&W.
It was as good a time as any to feel liberated, so I decided I would. I did my usual happy place exercise - listing my top 5 reasons to be alive (I managed to find three), whistled 'dancing queen', and jigged along the streets.