The Manchester Review
Kamila Rymajdo
American Cigarettes
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The young men joined the queue, the girl stood to the right of them, an add-on to the otherwise orderly line. The bouncers soon noticed and told her to move closer to the wall. The taller young man squeezed her shoulder and said, ‘This should be fun.’ She smiled at him without parting her lips.
       Once they paid in and got their drinks, they stood and observed the other clubbers. The shorter young man looked for girls he might chat up, the taller young man looked at the other young men in there and compared his hairstyle to theirs.
       ‘I’m going to the toilet,’ the girl said.      
       ‘OK, we’ll wait here,’ the taller young man said. He was holding his coat and she handed him hers.
       There was a wait to go, on account of there only being two cubicles. The girl stood in-between two taller girls, making eye contact only with her own reflection in the mirror.
       Neither of the young men stood where they said they would be. The girl went to the bar, but they weren’t there either. She went over to the dance-floor and stood on her tiptoes. She recognised the taller young man by his height, and his purple polo-shirt. As she pushed through the dancers she saw that he was talking to someone, a woman. His head was lowered, and the woman’s lips were by his left ear. When the woman saw the girl approaching she turned round and disappeared into the crowd.
      ‘Who was that?’ the girl asked.
       ‘Some girl,’ he said.
       ‘What did she want?’
       ‘My number.’
       ‘What did you tell her?’
       ‘That I had a girlfriend.’
       ‘What did she say?’
       ‘Fuck her off.’
       ‘What did you say?’
       ‘What do you think I said?’
       ‘Why weren’t you where you said you’d be?’
       ‘I wanted to dance.’
       ‘Where’s our coats?’
       He pointed in the direction of the cloak room where the shorter young man was standing with their coats. The girl nodded and took the taller one’s hand in hers. She opened her mouth to ask, ‘So you were dancing on your own?’ but she didn’t.