By Paul Capewell
Location: The Deaf Institute, Grosvenor Street
In the bar of the venue I am sat. Waiting. Watching. Concentrating really hard on not sweating. It’s an impossible task; it’s so hot outside. Uncharacteristically so, but it’s the city, and when the weather is hot, the city is hotter.
I’m trying to contain my excitement whilst keeping myself to myself. It’s not easy doing both, and all of me wants to tell everyone why I’m here. The thing is, everyone else is here for the same reason as me, and none of them are running up to me to tell me how excited they are. I bet they’re excited deep down though. Just too cool to show it. I feel like the least cool person in the building.
I turn the pages of the magazine I had in my bag. I haven’t read it yet, but none of the words are grabbing my attention. Beads of condensation are beginning to group on the side of my drink in such a way that they appear to be making a run for it. Deserters.
Before long I’m on my second attempt at the magazine. Maybe I’ll get into it this time. Somehow, having not paid attention the first time, everything now seems old. Passé. I’ve seen that photograph before. I know what that woman is saying.
A guy sits down in the booth opposite. He’s strangely well dressed for this time of day, this establishment. His suit — not an expensive suit, but a suit nonetheless — is an oasis in this land of Converse shoes and checked shirts. He is wearing glasses. Spectacles. A designer pair. All clean lines. He sticks out like a sore thumb. I wonder why he’s here. Perhaps he’s wondering that too; He keeps checking his phone. Is he waiting for someone?
I look over at the glass panel and the hallway beyond. The girl I walked past on my way in is still there. She’s my early warning sign. My silent comrade. She doesn’t know about her role, of course. But if she’s not there, it’s time for me to move. At this moment in time, she is still there.
The girl by the glass panel is on her own — at least as far as I can tell — and she’s undoubtedly waiting for the same thing as me. Why don’t I go over and talk to her? No. It wouldn’t do. As much as it would feel chivalrous, brave and exciting, she would see only a creep. Possibly even a threat. No, best that I stay here.
I’ve finished my drink now. The ice is teasing me and rapidly melting into a tasteless puddle. I don’t want to drink melted ice. I get up and go to the bar.
On my way back, the girl by the glass panel has gone. My pulse quickens. I look around. I look at the time. No; too early. I was told 5pm. I sit down with my drink. As predicted, the girl returns to take up her position by the glass panel. She must have gone to the loo. This is ridiculous. Why do I know that? I shouldn’t know that. I try to forget it.
I get out the magazine again, this time determined to find an article to read. Not to skim, or to jump ahead every few lines. But to actually get stuck in to. That should take up some slow minutes. Then maybe it’ll be time to go upstairs? Maybe I’ll bump into the girl by the glass panel? Not yet though.
Paul Capewell is a student from the home counties, studying to be a librarian at MMU. He was the online editor of MMU’s student magazine last year. He likes photography and books, and he is growing very fond of Manchester. http://paulcapewell.comStats: