The jeans, the game, the darts. We play with the pub set from the seven foot line, more in an experience of flight, arc and motion than any skill. Sarah rapidly catches up to my initial flurry of high scores. We end by seeing who can get closest to the bull. We’re drinking halves in what used to be The Stamford Arms and it’s barely changed, better music, a lick of paint. New chairs, it seems. That’s good. The music is belting upstairs.
We sit, and talk. I mention Joan Didion. Elton John’s ‘Border Song’ comes on and at one point, ‘All Together Now’ features, its empty terrace anthemic redolent of stale dried Carling on the back of someone’s boot cut denim, or maybe a helplessly euphoric kiss, I can’t tell. A man and woman are smooching by the dart board.
As I order another half a Guinness, I look at the barmaid, and she looks right back at me, but we’re not thinking the same thing. That much, I know.