I still didn’t feel old enough for marriage, I know it wasn’t me getting married – that date was a long way off – but when I looked at Si, I saw the eighteen year old with glasses and a map. Silas and I had grown up together, we’d baked mud-pies, we had played imaginary games, watched marathons of Star Wars and copied each other’s homework. Now I watched him making-out with Lou, he no longer wore trousers which hung around his butt, he had a man’s haircut and the beginnings of a beard, he was a man and I still felt like a kid.
“Congratulations,” I smiled patting Si’s back, Flo and Aimee were studying the ring and Ian was just sat there a little lifeless.
“Thanks man,” Silas smiled,
“Four years ago when Lou climbed into the van, I’d never have dreamt you’d end up marrying her,”
“Tell me about it,” Silas was still grinning, “yet here I am,”
“Here we are…”I repeated, my mind was wandering over to the man by the bar who was eying up Aimee, obviously her elusive Paul. Aimee beckoned for Paul to come over and I stood up, I was pleased for Silas and Lou but I couldn’t just sit there while Aimee flirted with some guy she’d just met two hours ago. As I stood up I saw Aimee smile victoriously, she was coaxing this reaction, instead of leaving and giving Aimee the satisfaction, I went to the bar and ordered a round of celebratory drinks. I carried back the tray and sat it in the table between us,
“Champagne?” I asked peeling away the silver foil around the cork,
“What are we celebrating?” Paul asked, I glared at him with furious eyes, I wanted to hit him.
Wishes so rarely came true for me, that when they did it took me by surprise, like when I was asked to sign for New England Patriots I hadn’t been able to speak for almost two minutes. Paul was sat there smiling and pretending to be part of this group, his arm wound around Aimee’s back and he pulled her closer, feeling her up as he went about it. In my anger I pulled out the cork, the pressure inside the bottle pushed it out faster than I anticipated and the cork flew out of my grip straight into Paul’s eye. He fell back against the chair and began to groan in pain, Aimee immediately fawned over him, I watched in surprise as he began to cry – cry like a girl. I saw Silas suppress a smile and that set me off, I began to laugh quietly to myself and before I knew it Ian had joined in. Paul was now squirming around, a waiter had come over and ordered for the barman to fetch some ice, Paul removed his hand from his eye to reveal an already bruising and swollen eye.
“I can’t see! I can’t see out this eye!” he cried,
“It’s alright, it’s just a little swollen,” Aimee explain. Silas picked up the cork which had reverberated back onto the floor by his feet. He did an impression of the cork flying in slow motion towards his eye, he imitated Paul and I couldn’t keep quiet, my laugh resounded around the bar area and it went silent. People looked across at our group wondering what was happening, one end Paul was groaning and complaining and the other end Ian, Silas and I were in hysterics. Paul got up and applied the ice to his eye,
“I’m going to hospital,” he told everyone, “the waiter called for an ambulance,”
“Bye Paul!” I waved patronizingly, “Hope your eye doesn’t fall out or anything,” I smirked but set Ian and Silas off again, we’d obviously had too much to drink at dinner.
“Champagne?” I asked again handing out glasses, Aimee didn’t take one, instead she sat back on her chair with her arms folded,
“You did that on purpose,” she accused, I laughed,
“I wish I had, but I’m afraid my cork-aim just isn’t that good.” We all clinked glasses and drank to Silas and Lou.