I’m in Bruges. It’s cold, dark and currently raining and the entire city is asleep. Quiet.
No birds, planes or drunken stumblers anywhere in sight. Just quiet. I walk down a small side street and stumble to find my footing on the cold cobbles beneath. Walking itself has become a whole new task. I’ve been drunk since 2pm, when the sun was still shining and people were comfortably minding their own business.
The square was buzzing with the excitement of Christmas and the entire city had become an old English getaway for most, with men retreating for fine ale and woman retreating for romance, something they wouldn’t find in the drunken men, perhaps.
By now it was 4am. The slow dull blue had started to elevate itself over the crisp sky, but darkness and eery silence still plagued the city, as if it would be the dead of night, forever.
I took a seat on the moist bench on the outer ring of the main square and drunkenly looked up, observing the empowering bell tower that stood majestically before me, watching over the city like a parent over a child riding their bike for the first time. Afraid and concerned, all at once. I gazed up and thought, questioning the culture and history of this fairytale city, hoping to join its ever growing legacy.
I stood, wobbling as I put all my effort into standing up. Turning to the left, I saw a young couple linked arm-in-arm, walking merrily in both senses of the word, through the square and onto a side street.
I followed, this time walking with purpose, picking up pace with each step.
As I got closer to the couple I could see the woman’s beautiful diamond ring upon her finger, a statement of happiness and contentment in most cases. It was clear to me that this was a recent thing. I got even closer to them, and the man looked over his shoulder, startled by my appearance.
I approached the two with a smile on my face, a drunken one. My head flopped all over the place. They stopped and turned. I stopped and looked up with pride, staring back at them and into their glossy eyes. They were waiting to see what I’d do next, concerned about their safety. But I just stood and smiled for the instant we connected, jealous but understanding of their happiness together.
I reached into the back of my jeans and pulled my pistol. This was intended. I raised it and the woman screamed, the man withdrawing slowly and pushing his fiancé behind him, holding his other hand up at me signalling to stop, telling me not to follow through.
I put the weapon to my skull and pressed with validation. This was what I wanted, for me.