Midnight Pub

Like a cat in a maze


I'm walking down the road to the station. Usually I would be listening to some music, instead today I prefer to listen to the sound of silence. Last night a blanket of snow descended from the sky and put the city to bed. All the usual chaos and confusion preceeding, during and following the new year's day shushed by just a couple of cold flakes. I get to the station just in time to hop on the train and take a seat near a window. As the locomotive cuts the landscape in half I stare outside. When the normal background noise fails to reach my ears, I realise I might be the only one aboard. This is a luxury given this ride is for commuters. Be it the eerie silence, be it the mesmerizing view, I gradually lose the perception of time. The convoy enters the station at the time of street lights turning on. I'm not here for the usual reason. I'm here to wander, to try and calm my mind in the deserted capillaries of the immense creature I crawled almost every day. Being here without an objective, it makes me want to take new paths from the consolidated ones. Print after print in the soft snow I go down a narrow street that must have been built ages ago. Sometimes I get blocked by a dead end, only to discover another route hidden nearby in plain sight. Somehow I end up in front of a now familiar door, the one with a wooden moon on it, and while I'm not in a very social mood, I do need something to drink. The Midnight has been renovated during the last couple of days. I liked it before, I like it now. After all, It's the patrons that define the identity of the pub. I greet the bartender and ask for a vin brule. He must have noticed the peculiar order (at least, from me) because he lets escape an eyebrow arched in curiosity. Fortunately for me, bartender has always everyone's back covered. He can prepare it. As I'm waiting for the hot beverage, I overhear a conversation going on in the far end of the lounge about a toxic family and a troubled childhood. I don't know the details, but it hits me deep inside. I had managed to not think about it, having said that, after all, that's exactly the reason I ended up here, whether I planned it or not. The drink is ready. I don't feel like staying inside so I head to the terrace. Alone under the shining moon, surrounded by a layer of snow, with temperatures dropping just under zero Celsius. This is how I like to consume a well-made vin brule. I rase the glass to my mouth and take a sip. On the other side of the street a cat jumps from roof to roof in search of a warm place to spend the night. I feel him. Just like him, I'm searching a safe spot in the world. And I'm not finding one. Legally talking I'm an adult, economically speaking I'm far from independent, thus I'm forced to live with my parents. The relationship with my mother is gold for me, however the one with my father is a mess. Years upon years of arguments and beratings for the smallest of things. I would have already exploded if it wasn't for my daily dance: bus, train, uni, canteen, library, train, bus. I crave for time on my own. I need it to recharge my batteries, to breathe, to be myself. And the pandemic took away a lot of that time. I get out of my room only when I need to be on on site to work or when I'm legally allowed to wander out of my domicile without a precise reason. He, however, gets in my room constantly, my last fortress. And when he does, my stress rises. And when he does, his stress rises shortly after because I don't consider him how he would like to. He doesn't get I still need to study, to have my time, to live my life. He doesn't get I am moody, that I'm slowly discharging to the point of no return. After all, he already forgot the last time that happened. He trespasses boundaries and expects people to not complain, but be wary of even getting near his pasture, cause he might shoot ya. And I'm tired of this situation. And I'm searching for a solution to the problem, one that the past years haven't already summoned in my head: make more revenue, find an apartment, leave the rabbit hole. But reality is a dealer that loves shuffling people's deck of cards and oh if it does it well, so reordering my cards by value and suit will take a long while. For the moment, I'll wander in an haunted maze where the only safezones are public transports and the Midnight. I see no end, I have no clue of where I'll end up, the only certainty is that, like the cat, I'll live long enough to find my spot or I'll die in the process. That's how I feel, like a cat in a maze. I wonder what time is it. The moon seems pretty high in the night sky, and the glass is empty. With no more fuel to warm my body I decide to head back in and sit in front of the fireplace. Smudge is already there with his belly turned towards the fire. Cats...