Just Another Night Out
It happened like it did every other weekend. Waltzing up the stairs in an unintentional V formation, we made our entrance into the club: a perfectly emulated slow-mo scene straight out of a Mean Girls movie.
A potent mix of gin and tonic ran through my veins, combined with the stale lingering of my last budget cigarette that sat on the back of my tongue. Bodies morphed into one, a clump of clay bound together by a sickening mix of perspiration and vodka-Fanta residue. Wedging between clusters of people, we formed a train in a desperate bid to make it to the bar for that one last drink, a questionable decision I was no stranger to.
Huddled loosely in the only section of free space available on the dance floor, we sipped politely, scanning the room for potential husbands and despised lovers of ex-boyfriends. I felt a short sharp squeeze of my hand and re-directed my attention towards my friend. She grabbed me with such speed I felt her panic, a sensation that was soon confirmed as my gaze met her widened eyes.
“That guy just said to me that he couldn’t get past me ‘cos of my big titties.”
A foul taste formed in my mouth. An onset of rage followed, a sensation I had grown all-too-familiar with. A sudden blanket of heat made its way up my legs, igniting a fire that spread to the crown of my forehead, creasing firmly between my brows. The bones in my hands clenched in defence as my pores made way for a furious sweat.
“He said what?”
I envisioned how I would plant my first jab: straight to the jugular, maybe a powerful knee to the balls. Either one was sure to leave him gasping for air, I thought. I remembered the words of my Martial Arts trainer, words we shared in a moment where I was taught how to snap an elbow in one swift movement. He told me he could see the anger in my eyes. The potential for me to go full ape the next time I was groped, whistled at on the street or childishly told to get back in the kitchen.
Pulling me out of the internal conversation that was taking place in my head, my friend shrieked again.
“He fucking grabbed at my arse!”
That was it. I’d snapped. I’d passed the point of no return. There was no chance of changing my mind, calming me down, or convincing me it wasn’t worth the energy. I swerved past my friend, rage hurling me straight towards an overweight, balding figure. Prodding him with force, I jabbed my fingers into his meaty arms. His head turned, followed by a piercing stare from his friend; they mimicked each other’s stature. His eyes glazed over, a liquor-drenched look that sent an overwhelming feeling of nausea flowing through my body.
Pointing my finger at the centre of his nose, I was filled with a surging violence. A reel of memories flooded my brain: The time I had my hair yanked back in the line at that same club. When a foreign hand made its way up my skirt. The day I was told I looked good enough to eat on an evening jog. When I was belittled by a boy five years my senior who laughed at my thunder thighs and left me broken in a bus stop.
“If you touch my friend ever again, I’ll fucking kill you.”
He smirked. Throwing back at me a line I couldn’t bear to stomach.
“She could’ve at least sucked my dick.”
What followed I can tell you was in no way intended for PG rated hearing. A string of the dirtiest words ever muttered aloud came streaming out of my mouth. Some I can assure that won’t have even made it to the dictionary, flying towards the scummy heap of a human I had standing in front of me.
Disregarding my attempts to fight back, he cackled with laughter in my face. The kind of laugh that’s made when pitying someone from a perceived position of power.
The bar staff noticed the scene I had supposedly caused. Joining in on the apparent joke of a show, they snickered and sneered, their reactions implying that this had somehow become my fault. I imagined them whispering to each other about how I was just another crazy female, clapping my hands in a man’s face because I found messages in his phone I wasn’t meant to see. Or that I hadn’t got the right amount of attention I needed that day.
Making our way for the exit, I turned and grabbed a bar staff’s attention, indicating towards the man who’d just minutes ago assaulted my friend. He stood placidly in the corner of the room as if it had never happened. With conviction, I warned the bartender that the piece of shit he’d just been cackling with needed to be watched, questioning his character and why he’d ever think it was okay to brush off a man touching a woman without her consent.
“If he does it again, let me know and I’ll kick him out.”
Half-arsed and echoing like an automated voice message, he turned back towards what was likely a 16-year-old boy and poured him another vodka-Fanta. Just like that, and without hesitation, he got on with his job as if I’d never uttered a word.
Giving up the fight, we headed home, sentences filled with disbelief breaking up the uncomfortable silence between steps. Our heads held a little lower, hands clenched a little tighter, our skin crawled. The internal conversation sparked up in my head again, mumbling away.
I’ll just stay in next weekend, I thought to myself.