There are only a few of us who have drank through the tedium that tends to settle in around 4am on a prolonged drinking session: the boredom that descends when every form of alcohol tastes more and more like water or poison depending on your disposition.
The conversation has degenerated. The six or so people at the bar talk outwardly about the inane, when their cerebral focus, however blurred, is lost within an internal dialogue. We are all wading through a deep mental bog full of the kind of thoughts that one turns to at dead or dying moments.
Yet with the promise of a new dawn, a fresh day to be heralded, it’s rude to think about sleep, about passing on into that welcome blackness.
Sat on the wooden pontoon looking over the Mekong, waiting for the sunrise that has already begun to show itself in bright curls of cloud, flecking the horizon like toe-nail clippings on a tiled floor. Scott looks more like Jesus than ever and is diving into the water, tumbling through back flips, and, without fail, landing on his face. It’s morning near enough, so I switch to vodka and orange juice – the vitamin c burning a quiet acid in my stomach like the first twinges of sexual attraction.
A New Zealand girl drags on a cigarette which she holds by a thin piece of paper wrapped around the filter and held taut between thumb and forefinger to protect her fingers, broken with dermatitis.
Over the trees across the river, the sky has turned angrier, reds, purples, bruises and wounds, fists and slashes. A fight, something close to passion, animalistic. Then, purposefully, slowly, it becomes one huge graze, like Sam’s leg who came off his scooter at speed, stained by iodine, fringed by weeping purples and darker fringes of dried blood. The sky’s about ready now for the sun. Right on cue, it burns through the trees, too bright for retinas, cameras, and me.
It’s 630am, the bar is closed, just. It will open again in half an hour. I drain the icy pulp from my glass and decide to stumble to bed whilst there is still time, to pass out under the watchful eye of the lizard that rests on my wall.