saw you leaning into my view, eyeing the clock on the wall behind the bar and
flipping your wrist, just to check, just to make sure that all was right and I
was still there, still looking back in your direction.
felt your hand, felt your palm glide and your fingers search for the small of my
back, that spot just under the cotton of my shirt as you walked by, holding the
drink you bought for that girl, the skinny one with the nails and the hair and
the dress, the black dress I would never wear because it dips too low and clings
too tightly to hips that are so much smaller than my own.
And I know
what youíll say, since itís all the same and Iíve heard it before, not
from you but from someone just like, who sat on that very stool, and wrapped the
same charm in the same swollen words that he would never think to say to the
girl who came on his arm, the one who left in a hurry, down the stairs, banging
the door against the wall.
all so easy, donít you think?
wait for the old man next to me to finish his beer and stumble off, since heíll
be gone too long and need help telling the skirts from the pants on the old door
that too many drunks have scratched their names into as they waited to pee, not
noticing the spot on their crotch as they walked away, trying too hard to prove
that theyíre fine to drive and not too drunk to bring someone home and make
the bed shake.
And youíll scoot over,
sly and smooth, like youíve practiced at home in the corner of your basement
at the portable bar your dad made out of plywood and black plastic veneer. The
same bar where he sat drinking too many too-dry martinis with too many olives
and dreamed of the pool table he would never own, back when he was single, right
after the divorce, when he still cared about the half naked women in string
bikinis parading by his sliding glass doors at his new condo complex, the one
that put up the sign on Highway 11 in the summer of Ď76.
it said. Stay with us.
Iíll look over, casual at first, like I donít really know, but Iíll give
you that smile, the one my mother taught me years ago. And youíll say ďHey,Ē
just to get the ball rolling and Iíll say ďHeyĒ back, and just for a
second, I will lose that line of my near perfect vision, so that all I see is
your nose and mouth when I look at your eyes, and your eyes and ears when I look
at your mouth.
And then weíll talk, about the world in
general and you in particular and how Iím the only one who seems to
understand. And Iíll ask about her, like I donít really care, but you know
the truth and so do I because itís already started. And she knows it, like me,
hates it, like me, struggles like me to make you look as she leans over himóa
strange man to her, a best friend to you, the friend who came along to help blow
out your candles, to handle your girl and run his hand up her waist when you
found the one who would do for the night.
Then Iíll see you next month in the gym on my street and Iíll want to
say ďHeyĒ and youíll want to ignore, just enough to make me notice, while
you lift and you curl, make your smooth palms rough, make it look like you work.
All in an effort to attract a girl while you step, step, step on a never-ending
staircase, mechanical and timed, all drunk with sweat, just like you were on the
night I said yes.