Walking after midnight

It is a beautiful summer, this summer, when it pulls its finger out and remembers that summer is meant to be a season of warm breezes and sunshine and hot days, mild nights and the occasional thunderstorms.

The other night, it was too hot in the house. We took a walk down to the seafront, a few streets away, where the wind would be more windy and the air would be more breathable.

It is summer. It is the seaside. The place is full of holidaymakers.

The holidaymakers, I suddenly remembered, as we walked down toward the beach, are all drunk. At least, the ones wandering around at 11.30pm are. I tend to forget this. I think because generally until about five months ago, if I was wandering about at that time of night Id be mildly pissed too, so wouldnt notice. But now, in my new parasite-induced puritan state, suddenly I notice everyone being drunk far more than ever before.

And everyone by the sea, as far as I could see, was cheerfully, holidayingly, drunk. There were some giggling drunks, and some cuddling drunks, and some quietly drinking tired drunks, sitting on the beach, looking out at the breaking waves.

On the bandstand, there were two happy, soppy-looking drunks. The bandstand is an ornate, Victorian, singularly romantic place, and these two, a man and a woman, caught in a tight embrace, seemed to be making the most of it. I think the male one was proposing. It certainly looked like the kind of thing someone might do at that moment, in the moonlight, on the bandstand, by the sea.


There was a shout from the other end walkway that leads the promenade to the bandstand. The embracing couple turned around, proposer and his love. It seemed the angry drunk, swaying and pointing at the end of the walkway, was addressing them. It also seemed that he wanted to fight them.


He beckoned, apparently willing to fight both the lanky floppy-haired gentleman and his tiny tired soppy new fiancee, if they wanted to.

They didnt seem to want to.


They did not seem to want a bit.


Not wanting to get creamed, they seemed to be trying to think of a dignified and relaxed-looking way off a bandstand thats 18-feet off the ground. Every drunk still possessing the power of rational thought within earshot (and my beloved, who was empathetically sober), stood to attention, ready to run to the aid of these poor romantic soon-to-be-martyrs.

Except there was no need.

The pair shuffled down the walkway toward the unreasonably aggressive proposal-heckler, and after a couple of awkward looking shoves on the monsters part, and a couple of reasoning-looking lines from the romantic man, the confrontation ended. And not in violent death, either, like everyone expected. The Angry Drunk put his arms around the Romantic drunk and embraced him in a long, warm hug.

And then they parted, and went their separate ways. Silently, happily, slightly weavingly.

I do hope that that WAS a proposal, because if it was, it would be one of the more interesting proposal stories that get told. And then someone threatened to kill us… and then we lived happily ever after.