Monday, May 6, 2013

3. The Street

As Aiden walked down the street he looked around, absorbing the atmosphere of this new place like a sponge. The brown bricks and yellow streetlights led on to the multicoloured neon lights of bars and take-aways.

Aiden walked past the thin terraced house where the loud middle aged couple had been arguing half an hour beforehand. He noticed the empty plastic bottles that appeared to decorate the short path from their door to the street proper. He wondered to himself why people who appear to hate each other as much as that couple even bothered to stay together, surely they would both just be happier if they split up and started their lives over?

After a couple of minutes Aiden reached the first of the many bars, Qbar. Through the window he could see about 150 extremely drunk people wobbling around dark brown seating as bright blue and red lights beamed down. Meanwhile the most generic of generic dance music muffled its way through speakers clearly unable to handle such volume. It wasn't particularly appealing but he was out already, so he might as well go somewhere.

Aiden arrived at the door and went to walk through, when the doorman put his arm in front of him.

“Sorry mate.”


“You can't come in today.”

“Oh.” Aiden was puzzled. “Why not?”

“No jeans at the weekend.”

“Oh, ok.” Aiden had forgot he was wearing jeans, but that wasn't usually a problem in most bars. “Are they ok during the week?”

“You're not coming in.”

“I know. I just want to know if I can wear them during the week.”

“Please leave sir.”

“Alright, alright.” Aiden walked away from the bar, confused by the strange attitude of the doorman. He crossed the road and decided just to get a drink from the pub opposite instead. As he walked into the pub, a huge fight spilled out of Qbar. Two middle aged men in suits were brawling as what looked like their partners were screeching at each other and the doormen pushing them out of the building.

Aiden didn't catch the name of the pub on his first visit, it was decorated with 1970's style brown seating with green cushioning. It was so dark that it felt as if the entire place was lit by a few candles strewn about randomly. He walked up to the bar and ordered a beer, picking at random from the five pump handles he could see in front of him.

It turned out he had ordered a pint of Black Box, a stoughty black ale. It had a strong taste of iron, and a hint of chocolate. It wasn't particularly refreshing, but it did taste pretty nice. Aiden sipped away for half an hour, perched on the wooden stool on the right hand side of the bar. The rest of the bar appeared to filled by couples in their fifties and sixties, who looked as if they had been coming here so long as to appear part of the furniture.

Once his beer had run out Aiden popped off his stool, said thanks to the barman and headed out the door to continue his walk. He set off back down the road, wondering what he would find next.

It turns out that the next two hundred yards were made up almost exclusively of bars that looked identical to Qbar, with the occasional kebab shop and convenience store in between. Eventually the bars faded away, and the buildings became mostly houses and apartment blocks.

As Aiden continued to walk he noticed the buildings gradually start to get bigger and more expensive looking, with their security lights shining brightly. He realised that the shops and bars were unlikely to continue past these neat houses, and decided he would head back shortly. Just as he was about to turn around, he noticed a pretty girl stood outside one of the houses. Aiden waved politely and smiled at her enthusiastic wave in return.

After another thirty seconds, Aiden decided he had walked far enough, and should head back. He turned around, and headed back home. Home. An odd word for a strange new flat in a strange new apartment block in a strange new town. As he walked back past the house, he looked for the pretty girl again, but she had gone. So far she had been the only truly friendly face he had encountered here.

As he approached his apartment block, Aiden felt a few spots of rain, he headed inside and up to his flat. Once there he opened another beer and sat out on the balcony again, listening intently to the pitter patter of the rain across the street. The rain got heavier and heavier, until the spaces between raindrops had all but disappeared, leaving a constant droning water sound. Aiden looked out, half expecting the collection of plastic bottles at the shouty couple's house to start sailing away down the street towards Qbar.

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