We were talking about setting the scene and establishing mood at my creative writing class tonight. As a part of that we did two exercises.
The first was to describe a place you love or hate in two sentences without saying why you love or hate it.
Ducks, geese and swans as well as a sewage works, this is the noisy home to an eclectic mix. You usually end up getting either sunburnt, really wet, or both and laughing as you watch spectacular sunsets whilst doing something you thought impossible.
That's Oxford Sailing Club in case you hadn't guessed I was talking about sailing. The first thing my tutor said when I read it out is "are you talking about sailing?"
For the second exercise we as a group came up with the description of a bar. Who was in it, what sounds there were, what the weather was like, what was in it, what it smelt like etc. Then we were each given a short character description at random and had to write a description of that bar as though we were that person (in first person). We had about 15 mins for that. My prompt was a woman in mourning for her husband who has died suddenly. This is typed up exactly as I wrote it and without any editing.
This really isn't the sort of bar I'd usually go to. And I don't think I'll be coming back. We always used to go to nice quiet wine bars. Or to old country pubs. The type you find almost by accident and collapse into after a long walk. Jess had insisted however. Claimed I needed to get out. "It's Christmas" she'd said as though that explained it all. I didn't go out as often as I used to, hadn't been out in months.
Zach had died suddenly one night. An hour after we'd got home from our favourite pub. I'd gone to make hot chocolate. Celebratory hot chocolate we'd laughed. After more than a year of trying we'd finally won the pub quiz. Five minutes later I dropped the mugs on the floor when I found him. He was dead, just like that. I hadn't had a night out since. Nor had I managed to get the chocolate stain out of the carpet.
So, three months later I found myself in this crazy pub. It's full of children screaming as their mums sing Christmas Carols badly on the karaoke machine and their dads roar at something on the biggest TV I've ever seen. Jess had said this was a nice place. It had a fire I could sit by and we could chat. Shout right in each others ears? Yes. Chat? No. And as for the fire? Tattooed bikers sit round it along with a menacing looking dog. I wouldn't dare go near it. It's so cold in here too. Snow is coming down by the doors are propped wide open and I don't dare go shut them.
I was really intrigued by the sound of the wine I'd chosen. But now I don't know why Jess thought I'd like this bar. I didn't like this sort of place when I was a teenager let alone now. I just want to go back three months. Back to "our" pub. Back to Zach.