Trying to act casual, I descended the stairs. Not feeling like a star, far from that. ‘Pyxis!’ someone exclaimed. I insta-smiled. (My body apparently insta-smiles when someone exclaims my name. Even when it’s my virtual one.)
‘Hi,’ I said to no-one in particular.
‘Hi!’ said someone who grabbed my hand and shook it, ‘Kurloc.’
‘Let me introduce you!’ he said.
Of course, I forgot most of the names. I see faces before me, merging together. Smiles, brown eyes, blue eyes, glasses, an occasional tattoo. Skinny people, fit people, and people that looked like they didn’t believe in going outside. It was hot. It was boiling down there. A low ceiling. The space was crammed with tables and chairs.
‘Pizza coming at seven,’ Kurloc informed me with a wink.
‘Nice,’ I said, keeping my cool.
It was like my first day going to a new school, after my family moved. I was six, walked through the gates, in the yard, the buildings, children running around me and I was shocked. I hadn’t thought about how the school would be, but somehow I did have expectations. Because it looked different. It all looked entirely different. And so did Kurloc. No conscious expectations, but I must have had some, since he looked different. And he seemed less friendly (and less hotheaded) than I had experienced him in game.
I got a drink, and assigned to a table. There was going to be a game. All evening. ‘I’ll watch, I don’t like tabletops,’ I said to Kurloc.
‘No,’ I said. (Might sound strange, but I don’t like to sit in one place. Playing games for some reason tricks me into thinking that I am actually moving. Tabletops don’t do that for me.)
‘Do you know this one?’ he asked.
‘No,’ I said. ‘I’ll just watch.’
‘You have to try! No worries, I’ll explain it to you.’
He did. My objective became to get myself out of the game asap. Kurloc tried to rescue me, giving me breaks and second chances. So nice, and so not wanted. Another person at the table (probably annoyed) saved me: ‘Go check out the pizza. They should arrive any minute.’ Kurloc was about to say something but I quickly replied, that I was a known pizza-handler so that I indeed should be checking that out.
Out of that chair.
The pizza’s arrived, I busied myself with handing them out. Talked. Pleasant conversations, but I felt out of place, it was like I was not really there, an actor who hadn’t studied his part. Of course, it is nice to meet people you would otherwise not meet, to do things you would ordinarily not do. But.
Thank God for badly arranged public transport, which forced me to leave early. Kurloc escorted me to the station. I thanked him, said I had a lovely time, etc.
The doors closed, the train left. Never do this again.