The others leave, one by one, and it ends up being just me and Ginger at the steps by the river, sipping from the bottle in lukewarm turns and staring out to the monstrous city lights that seem close but are worlds away.
‘Let’s get some chips,’ he says.
‘You go,’ I say, resigned. I knew it couldn’t last, just me and him. ‘I’ll wait here,’ I say.
He takes the bottle from me, and takes it with him. He won’t come back. He’ll start talking in the chip shop. To another, more interesting, more attractive. He won’t be back, but I don’t mind. I lie down, my head against the cool ground. I think about the chips that aren’t coming. Ages pass. And people pass, once or twice, along the footpath, not far from my feet. I don’t care. My mouth tastes of acid wine. Thinking when I’m this way is easy. It’s more like not thinking at all. So I drift.
I wake to an intermittent rustling of paper. Irritating at first. But Ginger’s back, a cut glistening on his cheek. A slice or a scrape, it’s hard to tell. Grease glosses his full lips, and sodium light bounces orange off the curls in his hair. He’s soiled and marked and of the night, and he’s really very beautiful in this light.
‘What are you looking at?’ he says.
I stare, willing and daring him to make something of it, because in that after-sleep glow I could maybe turn things around.
But, ‘Here,’ is all he says, and he leans across, comes closer, tantalising. Closer, and hands me my bag of chips.