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  • Music blares through the taxi, and we smile warmly to one another.
    I'm with friends.
    Close, no-matter-what friends, and the comfort, the laughter, the guarantee of these people is what leads you on.
    Tricks you into thinking that tonight will be a good night.
    (That, and the three double whiskeys and coke you've had beforehand.)

    Head in hands, and we're not even there yet.
    Somewhere in that silly, dysfunctional mind of mine there's an honest truth, a certainty.
    'You will go home regretful.
    It will be 4am in the morning, you'll be tired, drunk and silently emotional.'

    But I'm already here, in the taxi, and we're driving into the centre of Manchester, knowing all too well where we'll end up;
    in some student club, with a promise of cheap drinks and a good dance.

    The rain pours,
    but the pathetic fallacy of it all is no match for tipsy Tom and his group of drunken warriors.
    I.D's out, British pound in hand,
    we pay for the happiness
    and prove we're old enough to handle it,
    walking in, one behind the other,
    an army of friends.

    The dance floor is a mass of moving bodies,
    the majority male,
    with a splash of female splendour here and there.

    The night plays itself out.

    Guys grind on girls,
    stick their filthy beer-plagued tongues down the throats of those drunk or stupid enough to allow it,
    while others take a different approach,
    slowly dancing, holding hands,
    believing that there affection,
    their slow, careful touch,
    will woe their partner into more.

    I watch, I dance, I drink.

    These people are thin. That's one of the first things I notice.
    What a horrible thing to notice, I tell myself.
    But the truth is horrible, most of the time.

    I've reached a point right now,
    in the 'story'.

    I leave the group as they throw themselves around the dance floor,
    and make my way to the bar,
    it's 2:45am.

    I ask for two glasses of water with ice,
    thank the beautiful blonde bar girl with the gorgeous slim pink lips,
    and make my way outside into the cold, brisk early morning air.

    I sip from the cups,
    slump myself against the wall across the road,
    and watch as people leave.

    I think about the two girls I broke up with,
    and how I've hurt them,
    and how the guilt sometimes overwhelms me.
    I try not to question it. I know I'm right, but again, what a horrible thing to think.

    I think about my weight,
    my image, what I want to look like,
    and what I actually look like.

    I think about my friend,
    who like me, has been drinking a lot recently,
    and proves that he too is having problems,
    when later he breaks down as we hug goodbye.

    I even think about my future,
    and how the end of this summer is where the direction of my timeline will be decided.

    By the time the water is gone,
    and I've travelled through the crevices of my mind,
    the group have emerged from the club,
    and we are hailing cabs,
    splitting up and deciding who lives where and closer to who.

    It is a routine we are all used to.

    I sit down, the seat beside me empty, and I am as silently emotional and tired as I suspected I would be.

    What am I doing, I ask myself.

    What am I doing?

    I'm sober now. I've thought some more.
    But still,
    I don't know the fucking answer.
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