I’m a missing person. Not that you’ll find me on any milk carton or across any headlines. No, I’m the reverse: all body and no spirit. No-one at this party knows that I’ve gone. I slipped out a while back, before I pulled apart my tie; before my mother got up to talk about my father, lips bleeding with lies. I most definitely left before then, before the talks. Way before. Not that I could tell you when.
At the downstairs bar, I flick through receipts that were stuffed in my trouser pockets and find a folded fiver, limp and soft, and a bit ripped. I hope they take it. I can’t be bothered to go to the cash point. They ought to; it’s not my fault the fiver has seen better days. It shouldn’t be chucked out because it’s a bit old. The barman notices me but he goes to a woman who’s just arrived at the bar. I’m not surprised, I would have too.
On the opposite side of the bar, a girl is staring at me. I stand up straight. She raises her eyebrows and sweeps the hair off her face. It’s impossible to tell her age, her skin is smooth but there’s something long lived about her; as if she’d circled the sun so many times that she could do it blindfolded and backwards. They say that’s confidence, that self-assurance comes with age. I reckon its exhaustion. I catch the barman’s eye again and put my order in: wine, large.