Friday, November 05, 2004


He walked into the empty bar shaking. He wasn't usually a shaker so this bothered him. Get a hold of yourself, he said, not entirely sure how one went about getting a hold of oneself.

Although, it comforted him to see that there was a lot of available seating. He always liked an environment that felt like his own, the sort of surroundings that gave him the opportunity and freedom to speak his mind without the self-conscious concern of sounding foolish to others. It was so rare that he was able to express himself without restraint in New York. He was always sure that someone at the table next to him was picking up random statements. After all, he was guilty of eavesdropping on occasion. Why should they be different?

The emptiness of the bar made sense to him--this was also the night that America was discovering who their next President would be. It felt slightly surreal continuing with life as if it was a regular Tuesday. It was anything but a regular Tuesday. He ordered a vodka soda--not the drink he usually had but he felt that this night called for something a little stronger than a light beer.

In the corner of the room, he spotted the perfect location for them to talk. He sat down, made himself comfortable and drank quickly. The vodka soda was finished before she even got there so he ordered another drink. A beer this time. He focused in his head on what he wanted to say. Which was hard considering he really had no idea. He felt like a victim, unable to control his feelings or emotions. He hated feeling weak and it was the first time he had felt so helpless.

His cell phone rang. It was she. She couldn't find the place so he told her where it was and that he would wait outside. And so he did. The fall weather was cool enough to induce some chills but still warm enough for him not to bother putting on a coat. He spotted her across the street. This moment was so much larger than the words he could use to express it. Different parts of his body sent different messages to his brain; the stomach, the back, his arms and legs, his heart. Oh, his heart wanted respite most of all. He was happy to be there but simultaneously wishing he was someone else. Like the deliveryman riding by on his bike. Or the sharply dressed middle-aged man walking briskly with his sense of confidence and security.

They hugged one another. To him, it felt just like coming home after a long trip only to find that all the furniture had been rearranged. The loveseat, in particular, was gone.
Their embrace was comforting yet jarring. They walked into the dimly lit bar and sat down. They started talking and all he could do was stare into her eyes as if this would give him some understanding into what she was thinking. He wished that he could read minds. He wished she would allow him to do so. Conflicting sentiments raged through him. He felt pathetic and strong. He felt communicative and shy. Bold and reserved. He remembered all the hundreds of things he wanted to tell her in weeks previous. There was a list of little notes of interest like things he had seen in the newspaper, movies that were coming out, books he wanted to recommend to her. All the times he had been in a health food store and found items she would have loved to try (she loved to experiment with food). They were all toppling in his head like books dropping from a burdened, overwhelmed shelf that collapsed in the hall closet.
Finally, he realized, he had known her so well and he loved that he finally knew her well...but sometimes, like this time, patience and love do not go hand-in-hand.

He wanted this night to last forever but he knew that days like that were long gone. He would have to be satisfied with this night lasting just another couple of hours.
And he would have to be okay with that.


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