So, I’m at this bar, a beer bar, with an outdoor stage for shitty local bands, stand-up comedians… Tonight, it’s stand-up comedians. Not my style. I don’t care if the beer’s from Ireland, brewed by faerie magic, you still have to drink two, three, five, just to feel anything. I want some clear liquid in a tiny glass that takes two seconds to drink and two more seconds to make my face feel warm and fuzzy. Drinks like that burn your throat, but that’s part of their magic, the whole pain heightens pleasure, I like girls who pull my hair while we kiss, thing. At any rate, yeah, beer bars, not my style. Neither is watching stand-up comedy, but I’m there doing that too. It’s kind of a downer evening, just a few evenings before Christmas. I’m at this beer bar, I’m stone sober, I’m bored, and I’m cold. Like I said, outdoor stage, late December. Even Florida gets bitter-cold a few times a year. One of the previously mentioned stand-ups is actually funny, but he’s the headliner, he’s up last. This leaves a solid hour of jokes about what is apparently the wannabe comics’ go-to topic, Hilarity Without End, Amen, the vagina. I’ve never heard the word so many times during what felt like an eternity, vagina as the Holy Grail of punch-lines. I guess if you’re 27, and you’re only with a woman, say, whenever an Olympics rolls around, you get a bang out of at least talking about it. I’m bored. Though, I’m less cold by the forty-seventh vagina joke, my brother brings me a heating-pad. Yes, I’m a giant sissy about being cold, and I really don’t care about looking cool at a beer bar. Warmer or not, I still want to go home, but I don’t.
After the headliner gives us a generous reprieve from the Vagina Monologues, the show’s over, everybody’s straggling toward their cars or cabs, or better bars. I’m just kind of sitting in my chair, staring up at the night sky, wanting to see stars rather than clouds, thinking about a girl. I haven’t seen her in a really long time, but she’s always in my head, permanently etched into my memory, a tattoo behind my eyes, a sometimes torture that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’m thinking about how I wish she were next to me, that we were about to drive home together. I want to be going home together, crawling into our cozy warm bed, kissing and talking and kissing in the dark before we fall asleep, the unspoken promise of deeper intimacy in the morning, the sacrament we’d share, her skin against mine. I’m thinking about the way she used to look at me, all these years later nobody has ever looked at me like her. She saw past all my outward flaws, saw me the way only God sees me, into my soul. She saw the real me, the melancholy, happy, scared, brave, dark, light me, and in her eyes all I saw was love, love as simple and beautiful as summer sun shining through green tree leaves. I’m thinking about just wanting to have those eyes in my life again, if for only one night, one hour, ten minutes. Anything.
I close my eyes, head tilted toward the gray night sky. Cold air stings my face, cold air that scoffs at the heat draped across my chest. I focus on the heat, it reminds me of that girl, I see her, the tattoo only I can see. My sometimes torture that I wouldn’t trade for anything, she’s vivid and bright and so right there. I get this stupid feeling that if I just open my eyes and look next to me, she’ll be there. I don’t look, I know she won’t be there. I know and I’m scared, the lack of her scares me.
I open my eyes, the clouds shuffled off like so many drunks. I see stars, I know that they’ll be here long after I blink out and disappear.4 comments
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