It wasn’t as hot outside as I thought it’d be, but inside was humid. A bar packed full of revellers; drunk, sweaty bodies and a constant rising volume. I should be in my little flat, sobbing my lonely heart out, grasping forlornly at what could have been.
But I wasn’t. I was here, with a passport, backpack and fifty quid for company. Everyone around me knew everybody else. Yet I didn’t feel alone; a stream of people kept dragging me to dance or refilling my glass. The joys of being a tourist in a foreign city on New Year’s eve, I guess. The atmosphere was infectious, a full on party and I was grateful for an interruption to my solitude.
I didn’t know the music, but it didn’t matter; I couldn’t dance, but no-one was watching that closely either. I swayed to the music, intoxicated by either the ambience or the alcohol. It really didn’t matter, everyone else was the same.
A petite body pushed past, the woman I’d had half an eye on all night. She stood out like a beacon in the crowd of bodies. She seemed so vibrant in comparison with everyone else, so alive. I wanted her energy, no, I wanted her.
Her breasts pushed against my chest, and without thinking I rested my hand on her hip. “Perdón!” I exclaimed, withdrawing it like she were on fire. She flashed a smile at me as I held up my hands in apology. The rest of the room faded in comparison. All I could see was her.
She took my hand in hers, turned to face away and replaced my hand where it’d just been. She swayed to the music, her hips sashaying in time to the music. Her hair tickled against my face, her bottom teased against me and everything slowed down. The air seemed syrupy and thick, my movements exaggerated, like my brain wanted to capture the memory.
She turned back to me. “I’m Sylvie,” she said in English, her voice thick with an Andalusian accent. I looked at her, fumbling for the right Spanish phrase, temporarily lost for words. She laughed at me, her eyes sparkling with fun. “Come on.” Her hand tugged at mine and I followed, unsure where we were going. Right now, I’d go anywhere she asked.
We skirted round the bar, and through a door at the back. Once it closed behind us, the noise dropped away to an insistent hum. Sylvie turned and pressed herself to me. Her lips were full and soft, and she ran her fingers round my neck to rest against my scalp.
She tasted sweet and sour. And I kissed her, over and over, wanting more. Her fingers twisted harder into my hair and I let my mouth graze down her neck to her collarbone. Sylvie murmured, words I couldn’t catch or understand.
The noise the other side of the door changed. “Come on!” said Sylvie, taking my hand again. She pulled me outside and into the crowd to watch the fireworks exploding overhead. The flashes and bangs illuminated the sky, and Sylvie pressed herself against me as we looked up.
I breathed out long and slow; I was ready. Ready to release all the tension that had stretched me to breaking point. Ready to move on from all the events that led me here. The fireworks were like a fanfare to a new future. But right now, as Sylvie turned to me, they were a celebration of a petite Spanish girl’s tender kisses.