He had a distinct tinge of blue that simultaneously blended with but contrasted the more prominent grey of his eyes. They twisted and pulled in a kaleidoscope whirl of blending colours. They sat cunningly in the otherwise soft contours of a pure face that seemed permanently fixed in a smile. They called him Grey.
Grey sat with his arms sprawled among two girls. His touch was more congenial like a pet snuggling up to the newest human that crossed its path. The smile stretched not just from the corners of the mouth but from the edges of his face and converged into a warmth that was infectious in its amiability.
On the opposite end of the room a hand crept on the thigh of a new hopeful. Each limb was careful in its position, playing by ear to govern its movements. Xavier occasionally indulged in his vaguely foreign name, depending on whether it served his intents. She reciprocated Xavier’s grip by latching onto each of his words with widen eyes and exaggerated expressions.
Gigi liked to think that she had the charm of intellectual capacity but only had the grace of conventional beauty. Everything in her esteem was quantified, from her considerable smarts to her large friend circle. Her online persona was a flourishing presence of likes, followers and the necessary pretensions of model, traveller and “free spirit”. Though her school and university marks were always impressive, her speech was littered with the borrowed musings of popular thought and furthered her guise as a walking brand rather than a wholesome person.
Gigi watched Grey and Xavier. She watched Xavier and his latest female interest. Grey always seemed the opposite, with nobler, more friendly interactions. Xavier invested in his movements and was sure to sneak a wink at his friend Grey who acted as moral support from far across him. Grey, neither fixed nor detached, lay in the realms of nowhere but everywhere. He liked to bounce back and forth, following people as if they were shiny objects to be engaged with and then replaced. Each person was a new post for his flitting attentions. When Gigi received her turn of conversation, she collapsed immediately into his way of communicating through his eyes. His words were just added decoration to serve as small talk to that deep blue-grey. Even if it wasn’t quite romance that he evoked, he did have a commanding presence of youth and puppy-like cheerfulness. She could capture their moments of dilated eyes with glistening specks that caught the light at perfect angles.
Xavier intertwined his charisma with crafted words of the best minds of Allen Ginsberg’s generation, “angelheaded hipsters” and Emily Dickinson’s hope “with feathers that perches in the soul”. His words could sing and his subject could catch his tune and hang onto the melody of knowledge and wit that created both laughter and awe. Those invested eyes that clung to him drove him to seek it out as much as possible. New faces had new reactions that couldn’t be mimicked or recreated. That hope that spread its wings, although always present, was only more pronounced on the eve of new possibilities.
There was a person behind the long flowing hair, white, manicured smile and statuesque grace that supported the body inhabited so much by persona that her own self became suppressed. Gigi was a girl, no she was a woman. She had dreams of designing, values based in loyalty, love for animals and longing for adventure. She liked cheesy 90s R&B and sang every word no matter how much it was out of her vocal range. She was fascinated by the attention to detail and the visual aesthetic of anything ranging from artwork to skyscrapers. She wanted to create beautiful things and be inspired by any and every adrenaline-rush or new experience that she could grab onto. But she also had a fragile necessity. A price tag followed her actions and she was the product. Readily consumed, she could only see herself through commodification. Outings always played background imagery to her digital self. Every moment was a landscape for the cultivation of who she wanted to be seen as. So when she posed next to Grey, he became a fitting mannequin with his boyish charm and welcoming features.
Just as Gigi was a new distraction to him. A passing butterfly, a bright new colour and a nice new face that kept him from himself.
The stench of beer was the expected aromatic accompaniment to the dispersed bottles and throaty gagging. Xavier was glad to fulfil the hook-up criterion for the night even if he didn’t know how obliging she would be the next day. Gigi couldn’t quite document the more puerile but memorable parts but she could caption the pre-intoxicated group picture. There had also been enough activity to dangle in front of Grey together with an all-sorts variety of numbing juice.
So in the end they slipped into a half passed-out slumber with the conviction of a night well spent. Distractions petering out into the new day.