Trapped in a Courtyard

I honestly don’t know how I find myself in these predicaments but I seem to have a knack for getting locked in or out of things. This time I was very lucky that I wasn’t trapped by myself.

Connor was the first of us to have a birthday while in Galway and he decided to celebrate his 21st at a club called Carbon. He had signed us up for VIP access and about fifteen people came along. By nine o’clock we started to accumulate at Connor’s apartment and soon the place was overflowing with people perched on the armrests of couches, sitting on tabletops and on the floor, signaling that it was time to leave.

We all filed out into the street and were standing around waiting for the last few before making our way to the club when Alex noticed an open door in a neighboring building. I was standing right next to him so when he popped into the warmth of the doorway, I naturally went in too. I guess everyone else saw it for the horrible idea that it was, but I was genuinely shocked when the glass door clicked behind me. I tried jiggling and pulling the handle to no avail. We were trapped.

Through the massive windows we could see everyone in our group laughing and pointing at us, trying to figure out why we weren’t coming back outside. Alex and I turned around, looking for another exit, but we were in the lobby to some kind of apartment complex with no other exit. There were stairs leading up to other apartments and then a door leading to a gated courtyard. In hindsight, I suppose we could have nicely asked someone in the apartment to let us out, but I was too busy wondering what kind of apartment locks from the inside.

It quickly became clear to us that our only escape option was hopping a ten-foot gate in the back courtyard, so we left our friends to go to the other side of the building. I attempted to climb the fence first with a lift from Alex and I was actually enjoying some level of climbing success until I got into a position where I was straddling the jagged spikes at the top of the gate. With nowhere to sit down or set my foot it was a struggled to swing my other foot over the gate. So I sat there befuddled, crouching under the brick arch above my head and swaying back and forth over the metal spikes. Clearly not making any more progress, I eventually had to admit defeat and come back down to safety on the courtyard side of the gate.

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The scene of the incident. Believe me, it is much more taller than it looks.

This time Alex went first and, since he is much taller than I am, he had no trouble making it over the gate swiftly. He made it look extremely easy and simple, but I silently assured myself that his success was solely due to longer legs; it definitely wasn’t my lack of flexibility. Suddenly left on my own inside that cursed courtyard – and slightly embarrassed by my earlier failed attempt – I decided I had no choice but to force myself over the jagged gate. I scrambled back up into the same situation that I was in before.

As I was dangling from those spikes I began to regret my decision to wear heels and a dress because there was no way to maneuver myself and maintain a level of dignity. Despite help from Alex, my fumbling descent was the furthest thing from graceful. I landed with a slight wobble and shoved my hair out of my face in a weak attempt to look unfazed.

“Whew,” I said nonchalantly. “Totally could have handled that on my own if I were wearing jeans.”

Alex just smiled politely; he and I both knew I was lying.

But our adventure was not over yet. Because the gate was on the opposite side of the building from our friends, we had to run around the block to meet up with them again. But when we arrived outside of Connor’s apartment everyone was gone. How long had it taken us to escape? It was at this moment we realized that neither Alex nor I had any idea where the club was. My response was to start laughing at the absurdity of the situation, but Alex was more practical and started jogging in the vague direction they might have gone. With no better plan of my own I trailed after him.

Alex quickly outpaced me and scouted ahead while I stumbled behind in my heels, silently promising myself that I would start going for runs in order to be better conditioned the next time I need to find a club in Galway. When we made it to Shop Street, out of pure chance Alex spotted a bouncer with a shirt that read SECURITY and Club Carbon right under it. After such an unlucky night I could not believe that it could be that easy. But sure enough we followed that bouncer all the way to the club. We just had to drop Connor’s name and they brought us right to our group, safe and sound.

Who knew it could be so difficult to make it to a club?


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