This is some hours in. Session Mystic’s thinking of making an appearance, is your feeling, but there’s no way of knowing when that’ll be. It was a long week, all of them are long weeks, and between trips to the bar and surreptitious huddles in the jacks you’re not even sure you’ll make it to kicking-out time without losing the plot, much less whatever’s after.
Things started handy enough with a few in the house, a late taxi in because a bus was too much hassle and even though you missed the first act and part of the second that’s par for the course and nothing worth worrying about. You’re here now, the tunes are good and everyone’s into it, and later you’re having two fags in a row outside even though you don’t even smoke, but you were in the middle of a conversation and they were offered and fuck it, you know?
Session Mystic makes himself known, briefly, in a taxi back to a gaff off Cork Street, some non-sequitur response to a girl with a good fringe who fortunately doesn’t seem to notice, locked as she is into her own tale of woe. He knows though by the looks on certain faces that there’ll be an opening soon enough and all he has to do is keep a bit of distance and wait for the opportune.
Session Mystic is some boy. It’s good though because you reckon you might get somewhere with this girl if you keep it cool. It’s you and her and a few other friends of friends you’ve only ever met at festivals, no one you actually went into town with. Two workmates you’d accidentally talked into buying tickets for the gig disappeared at some point earlier, hard to say when, but no loss really: dead weight, unsound, not your people.
An hour or two later you’re watching someone flip through records and forgetting what you’d meant to say to them, and maybe you’ve gone about this wrong somehow but it’s not like you had a game plan. The feeling is that you could have, you know, taken the initiative, an initiative, but now you’re looking around and things are escaping. Distance was maybe an error.
You’re sat on the arm of a couch wondering if you’re starting to lose your buzz or if it’s just a trough or what while Session Mystic’s in the kitchen holding court. You’re slipping into the bathroom and spending too long in front of the mirror while Session Mystic’s getting words in edgeways with some Cavan lad with his jaw on a swivel. You’re caught up in knots looking at it, feeling like there’s something you’re missing.
What’s in at the core of you isn’t brought out in the day, not that the day is at fault, not that anything, exactly, is at fault. What you tell yourself anyway. What years and years of waking into someone else’s dawn will do to you. Session Mystic knows.
Session Mystic’s a prick. It’s cold outside despite the sun and you don’t feel up to human contact so you ignore the taxis and put your head down and walk. There’s that flatness that you know’s going to get worse by the time you get to your bed but still the walk is good, it’s purpose, and you left at a decent time, before anyone got their phone out to call this guy they know and before you sank into yourself to the point of regretting things.
You know how to take care of yourself, however much you might convince yourself otherwise. You look up as you turn onto your road, some part of your brain coming awake again despite the cobwebs, and you take in the women pushing strollers along the path, the auld fella sweeping leaves from his gate, the leaves themselves. You take the last turn towards home. And there it is. There you are. The ash of a new kindling, moth and flame both.
Illustration by Thomas McCarthy