“Hey, you…sitting all alone on a Friday night…come join us”, she announced with an uncommon elan, like she owned that bar. She looked shiny and elusive, basking in a high that possibly did not result from the heavy concoction of liqueurs she was tossing all around, dancing her way to the bar counter. She was talking too much, too fast. The other lady at the counter looked away, ignoring her pompous offer. “I am Success, by the way”, she added, sporting an extra padding of pride on her heavily layered clothing. The other lady smiled with a slight smirk on her lips and continued to sip her cognac.
Success continued to ramble her story of how significant her existence was in the lives of all the colourful people at that party. They were throwing a celebration party in her name. She pointed towards a group that ranged from subtly sober to terribly wasted categories, most of them looking shiny and elusive, just like her. “You don’t like to make any friends, do you?” Success snapped at the obstinate lady who openly refused to give her the attention she had been seeking.
“I could ask you the same darling. You don’t have any real friends, do you? Why are you sitting here and not with your shiny little bunch?”
Success was taken aback. She did not expect to be disrobed, bluntly, by someone who looked not so modern or consequential to the ethos of that place. The other lady quickly pulled out her credit card and handed it to the bartender not intending to inhale any more of the stale air oscillating between them. Success leaned forward to get a glimpse of the name on her card.
She was Madam Faith.
“Wait! Why are you leaving? I think you and I could be good friends”, said Success, in a desperate attempt to stop Madam Faith from leaving her side. But Madam Faith was already on her way out, cursing herself for falling into the same old trap of believing that these shiny little people needed her. It was clear that their minds were contorted by the spirits they drank and the vices they chewed.
“Wait….Wait…I have a question for you before you leave?” Success sheepishly marched towards Madam Faith and blocked her way, barely one foot before the exit. “Look at all the happy people in this room. Don’t you want to be on their side?”
Madam Faith finally broke her weighty silence.
“Do you really believe they are on your side darling? You seem so lost in your grand world of illusion. Don’t you know your life is short-lived in a place like this? No one in this crowd will worship you once your charm wears off. If you want real friends, find them in a place where there is no money or power. Those are the ones you could have a real conversation with and not anyone in this room.”
Success tumbled from the altar she had been standing on. It was unusual for someone to make an attempt to tame her pride. But Madame Faith had hit her hard. She was heady from a variety of English Spirits she had steadily gulped over the last two hours. Strangely yet, everything she had just heard seemed to make some remote sense to her. Though she could not be very certain that she would recollect this conversation, in entirety, the next morning. But it still made sense. A lot of sense. In a night that should have belonged to her where people sang her praises, she found herself stripped of her honour as they drank themselves to death, celebrating not her, but their own lost souls.
Madam Faith had almost reached the elevator when Success realised she had forgotten to ask the most important thing. She ran as fast she could catching her own obnoxious breath. “Excuse me… Madam Faith…So, tell me this… Alright? All these people here at the party….If I am not their friend and neither are you…who are they friends with?”
Madam Faith looked at the child-like spirit Success still managed to carry, realising she herself had grown too old and rigid for that sort of an amusement.
“Fear, my dear.” She waved at Success one last time and disappeared.