Lonely Silence

Valerie Smith © David Forward

Fifty Pence mate, demanded the bouncer as I placed the ticket into my pocket then pushed open the swinging doors into the Dolphins Hall. It was packed out and Slade were booming out from the sound system whilst everyone danced in a style that resembled a mass brawl outside The Crown Inn.

The DJ changed the record and most of the lads retreated to the edge of the hall, this was now a ladies dance and handbags were placed on the floor where their owners gathered around in clusters facing each other in little circles, arms and legs all moving in total disarray but oddly in rhythm to Van McCoy.

The lads wove their way to and from the bar across the hall with pints held at shoulder height trying not to be spilt out of hand or knocked off course by the writhing masses. The seats were all empty while the girls twirled around their bags, as the lads always stood in groups shouting into each others ears in between the slurping of their beer.

My eyes locked onto Lorna Smith and Cooker Cox as they morphed from Mãori to Masai as one record faded into the next. Then the girls plucked up their bags and drifted back to their seats through clouds of cigarette smoke swirling above their heads as they flickered across the floor lit by the strobe lights.

My eyes gazed through the pungent haze at all the faces with their sudden changes of expression, reacting to conversations silent to me, held against the background bedlam of everyone else’s shouting voices, straining to be heard above the painful wall of sound rising from the huge disco speakers either side of the stage.

Eyes now stinging, my ears now bleeding and no sign of the elusive single girl seeking new friendship, so I left the hall with its storm of swirling lights, through the exit into the freezing midnight air, so quiet out there, the only sound was a ringing in my ears and the crunching below of my feet on the frost covered grass.

I pondered the loss of Valerie and maybe love forever. Will I ever find that dream girl or had I already cast her into history, condemning me to the torture of an endless and fruitless search. It can’t be that bad, opportunities in abundance must surely lie ahead, but for now all thoughts of love were left frozen in my foot prints as I slipped away into the night.


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