My first pay check. And how I spent it.


converse shoes.jpg

What I wanted to do most of all was to dress up nice and visit a nightclub, and dance, and have fun, and mingle with beautiful strangers. I wanted a new outfit. I wanted to enjoy myself.

Somehow I’d become too serious and wound up; tightened, tightened, tight.

On Thursday evening I received my first pay in Peru.

I went to the mall and I bought Calvin Klein cologne, and I bought an expensive shirt. It is the most comfortable shirt I have worn. It was the perfect shade of blue that I searched for – that dominant shade that exaggerate my eyes. I bought black jeans and learned my waist size had dropped from 32 to 30. And then I bought red Converse sneakers. I bought everything I wanted (which was a huge chunk of my pay which has to last a month) and dressed up and went out alone.

I only knew of one nice bar in Trujillo that I’d liked, and fortunately for me there was a nightclub next to it. As soon as I walked down the stairs to the underground room across the sticky tiles to the bar I felt like I was at home in Mount Isa. The place looked like the Rish Nightclub. It was perfect. I was used to being at clubs on my own, and I used to be uncomfortable, but to get through it I just had to walk with a swagger and a smirk and watch people, and after a while I learned to enjoy it. I was the only one in the nightclub for a while and so I kept drinking, and I forgot to eat dinner, and eventually the dance floor was packed.

I am comfortable in being alone, and the best place to be alone is in the middle of a crowd, wearing a collared shirt and a smirk.

I walked to the bar the final time for another beer. The barmaid knew my order by heart. I stood back to the bar where it was best to watch the dance floor. The skills of dancing flowed more rhythmic and less disjointed than in the typical Australian nightclub.

And then something happened. There was a girl I started watching out of the corner of my eye. I’m not quite sure how it started but it felt like she was watching me when I was looking away, and I was checking her out when she had stared away. She was tall, shapely, and wore black. She looked like Rosa in Brooklyn 99. I began to make a game of it to see how obvious I could make my glances without getting caught out. Her elbow bumped mine and soon I started mimicking her movements – just casually. I would drink when she drunk. We stood side by side watching the dance floor as my smirks became grins, and soon we looked at each other, and didn’t look away.

She spoke first. I didn’t know Spanish. She didn’t know English. My phone was flat, I didn’t know my mobile number by heart, and I had no translator (I am terrible at all this, didn’t you know?) The senorita invited me to the dance floor. Many impressions have been ruined because I danced, and this time I was surrounded by latinas. She must have known I had no rhythm. Our dances were short, but we returned constantly.

“I like it,” she wrote when I apologised for my dancing. And later she said, “I like your beard.”

I have a beard? It’s strange to think that I do.

She insisted I have water and then insisted she order me a ‘safe’ taxi. “I’m not drunk,” I thought, but the number of beers had stacked up. We arranged to meet for another dance and she was dropped off at her house.

I passed out in the taxi on the way home (I know. She was wise ordering the trusted taxi) and walked into the apartment at 5am. I woke at midday with a splitting headache and a grin on my face.

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