Matthew stood there with his pint half full and thought about how much he would need another one.
Half empty then.
He smiled. He took another sip and waited. Not long now. He inhaled deeply and tried to calm himself. He could do it. All he had to do is pay attention and not say anything stupid. It was the first time he went out with The Boss, and this was a big thing, he knew that.
Mandy knew it too. God, she was so nervous, he could see it on her face the hope she had. This made him feel even more anxious. This could be something, this could bring in that promotion, this could mean that in the near future they could buy their own house. He wanted that so badly, for them to have their own little place in the world.
As he changed his position in the chair, he caught a glimpse of himself in the window. He had got so fat! He drank too much, he smoked too much, and he definitely ate too much. He should get along just fine with his American boss.
He smiled to himself. That was a bad joke, never say that out loud. Never make jokes like that on social media. Thank God, at least for now, his thoughts were his own. The glass was empty. He should not have another one.
He looked at the watch, about now.
After another half an hour in the cool evening wind, when he got bored of watching the people pass by and almost had given up on the hope of his boss ever coming, he got himself another pint. The good stuff, he needed it.
He could not dare to even go to the loo, what if He came when he was not there and would think that he had gone. No, he could not risk that. He lit another cigarette and drank from his pint, hoping that the new liquid would not push too hard on the old.
He looked at the phone. No messages, no calls. The need to go to the loo became so pressing that he felt he could not hold it in anymore, he had to go. As he got up, he saw Him turning the corner. He waved with a large smile on his face. Matthew waved back and stood still.
What was he supposed to do now? Come on, you are a grown man, you can hold it for a bit longer. You must make a good impression. Oh God, give me strength!
‘Matt, Matty, my boy!’ the man held out his hand. Matthew shook it trying to hide his state of mind.
‘Such a pleasure to see you Sir.’, Matthew thought about adding that he did not think The Boss would make it to the meeting, but then he realized that maybe such a statement would make The Boss feel like he was complaining about having waited, so he did not add anything.
‘Matty, forget the Sir., we are out of the office, call me Brian, please!’
Matthew could not help but feel a bit flattered by this familiarity of the Big Boss. Yes, nobody had called him Matty ever since he was 5, he had prohibited it, but that was irrelevant now, he could not afford to be uptight. But still, he had to pee so badly.
Brian threw his coat on the chair and touched his stomach.
‘I had the most amazing dinner, and now I have to pee like a horse. I will be back in a flash.’ And he disappeared inside the pub leaving on the chair, along with his coat, his very expensive looking briefcase.
Matthew was starting to lose it. He just had to go to the loo so badly. Across the road there was a Burger King, he thought maybe if he had enough time to go there before Brian came back. What about the briefcase though, bag, whatever it was? He had to take it with him. And what if Brian came out? He would think he stole it and then goodbye job, not to speak of the promotion.
He was stuck. There was no way out. Matthew was panic stricken and for a split second considered just to let it go. But then a little voice in his head rang true.
For Christ’s sake you are a 45-year-old man and you cannot go to the loo? Let me tell you my friend, then you do not deserve this promotion!
He tried to find a counter argument, but he could not find any, there was no reason in the world for a 45-year-old man not to go to the loo when he needed to. Especially when he needed it as badly as now.
He picked up Brian’s brief case and inside he went. He flew by the bar like a possessed man and went straight to the loo. He did not look around; he just went about his business.
Never in his life had he felt so overjoyed about going to the loo. He was repeating frantically in his mind, I was about to pee myself, Jesus Christ Almighty thank you for giving me the strength to hold on.
When he was finished, he wished he could pee some more just to be sure it was all out.
While zipping up he looked around, no sign of Brian and then he heard a little something in one of the stalls. Great stuff! He washed his hands in a hurry and ran out, briefcase in hand.
Never has an overweight smoker looked so athletic as in that moment.
When Brian finally came out, Matthew was waiting for him relaxed at the table.
‘I ordered you a pint! The best beer in the world, no probability about it.’
Brian sat and tasted his Guinness.
‘You might be on to something there Matty! Salute!’
Matthew was over the moon, he was a different man, he talked, he made proper jokes, and was as sober as ever despite of all the incoming beers. They talked business, about the economy, taxes, Brexit, even the royal family. The world was sorted.
When they parted, Brian winked telling him to wear a nice suit for work the next day and to go into his office first thing.
On his way home, Matthew was walking and laughing out loud like a mad man.
Who would have thought that a wee could change a man’s life? Not him for sure.