Note: Today marks six years since I started this blog. So, here’s the first of six stories I’ll be posting throughout the month of May. This was written based on the prompt “the anti-social social club” given at a #TheAccraWritingExperiment workshop. Email email@example.com to take part in subsequent events if you’re a writer based in Accra.
I stayed seated in my booth as he approached because I decided talking to him would be a better death than walking through a room full of drunken, groping men. He wasn’t a drunken man, but I could tell from his slight swagger that he was getting there. The contents of his cup sloshed about a bit, and he unconsciously increased the space between his outstretched hand and his white shirt.
“Hi,” he said with a little wave. I only understood because I had seen his mouth form the words. The music in the club was loud, and, despite this being the quietest corner I could find, it was almost impossible for anyone to make conversation without breaching personal space. Thankfully, unlike most almost-drunken men, he didn’t try to lean towards me.
“Minding your shit?” I saw him mouth. I pointed to my ears to indicate that I couldn’t hear, then proceeded to look away; my not-so-subtle way of ending what would have been an annoying conversation.
There was a bright light suddenly, and I turned to a phone being thrust towards my face. He’d opened the Notes app on his phone and had typed out a message.
Mind if I sit? He’d typed out. That’s what he’d been mouthing. I shrugged and pointed to the end of the booth. As far away from me as possible. He sat, tapped furiously at his phone and passed it over me.
Thank you. Alcohol normally helps my social anxiety but I’m sobering up too quickly today.
I handed him his phone with a half smile, and returned to sipping my rum. I understood him perfectly. He relaxed into the booth and started browsing through his phone, ignoring me. That worked for me. There was no need for conversation between us.
And yet, I found the loudness of the music in the club suddenly more bearable.