I do not feel alone. I do not feel complete, but not alone. I used to be so desperately wanting of some type of deep connect, of something that blew past all reason and thought and created a type of self-consuming desire that would not be sated. I didn’t know that’s what I sought in you; I didn’t know why I kept looking for it in you…now that I don’t have it and know that I’ve never had it, I don’t understand why I ever thought I did.
“You look lonely.”
You would like to be the devil on my shoulder, but now you’re not nearly charming enough to even turn my head. I can’t even say that you made a decent effort.
I drain my French 75. Hennessy and I have taken a little vacation from one another these days; perhaps it will be for the better. At least for now; that is the great love affair of a lifetime.
I’m sure you’re glaring at me, but you slink off back to your compensatory beefcake, and I don’t call after. I’m trying to find my peace, my solace, my gentle solitude. You were encroaching. Maybe I’m meant to be this way, surrounded by friends, and even enemies, but apart, sort of like a separate peace.
“You really do look lonely.”
I turn to look at the new voice and I see another glass of French 75 slide in front of me that I did not order. There are eyes as pale as clouds and a nose and a mouth and an all-together pleasing visage, but I come right back to the eyes.
“I’m really not.”
“Well,” she speaks quietly, gently, maybe even a little wistfully. “I am. Do you mind?”
I’m about to say something to extricate myself from this, but I bite my tongue. I literally bite my tongue and the sharpness of my teeth makes my eyes narrow; the pain clears any last cobwebs that could have taken up residence.
“I don’t,” I’m surprised at myself when I say it. I don’t? I…I don’t.
We sit quietly together. We drink in silence. We breathe in tune. We call for thirds and fourths at the same time.
Her onyx credit card slides across the counter faster than mine. I am not surprised.
“My name is Y—,” her voice is still in that hushed, breathy tone, but it lacks the pensiveness of before. In fact, since I listen so closely, I hear the subtle keenness, like a newly sharpened blade stuck against a whetstone, and it rings inside my ears; a morning bell calling the sun to shine forth and to grant its vital, restorative light. “And if you and I are not careful, I know we’ll fall in love.”
Serene. Direct. Simple. I breathe in—
I will not be careful.