his head is in my way. the noise blocks out any means of eavesdropping. i believe my head just sank. my friend jabs me in the ribs. an involuntary noise pushes its way up through my throat. my sight is bleary. “move on” she hisses. move on? its not as easy as you’d think. i continue staring, staring long and hard. my thoughts are not censored, my feelings are not translated. i don’t blink. his head turns a quarter turn. he’s eyeing the tv. he isn’t turning to meet my eye. “i said come on. we gotta go,” gotta go where? another bar? really…do they have a different type of vodka that is cheaper and makes you even more drunk? i don’t understand why we have to leave. she’s persistent though. she has been ever since i met her the summer of eighth grade. her coat is already on. “did you buy him a drink yet?” she questions as she reaches and picks up my jacket off the ground. i nod my head no. she waves her index finger an inch from my face, “that’s a shame, why don’t you go ask if he’d like to join us?” i don’t plan on doing that. i rarely confront people. especially strangers. she knows what i’m thinking. she sighs loudly, puts my jacket on her chair and gets up. her arms reach into the air, a stretch as if she were a cat awaking from an uninterrupted slumber. she smiles at me, i grimace. she’s up to something, i can feel it in my stomach. she saunters over to the bar, she winks at the bartender- who also happens to be her boyfriend. she reaches into the container where the lemons and limes are kept and she picks a slice of lime, and puts it in her mouth. she turns facing the exit, also facing the boy. i can see her eyes looking over his malnourished face. she has a look of something on her face. not quite sure what, but something, and all of a sudden i see her lips moving- words are obviously coming out. her hands start flailing about, she motions over to me without warning, and his head half turns. i am in his view. sitting at the booth, with an empty glass of what was once allagash. a look of disbelief and stupidity plastered about my face. i hear my name being said and repeated. once again the boy looks. he smiles, and i don’t. oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. what am i doing. i feel myself bending down picking up my jacket that once again, fell to the ground. next thing, i’m standing up, buttoning up the woolen peacoat. footsteps are approaching from behind. an arm brushes my shoulder. carefully spinning around, i’m faced with her. she is beaming and proud to say the least. she hands me a piece of scrap paper with seven numbers methodically written on it. “name’s seamus. he thinks you’re cute,” she giggles. her hand tugs at my jacket. is the vodka across the street really that much better. the piece of paper is shoved in my face again, but my left hand reaches up to grab it and then puts it in my back pocket of my corduroys. she yells across the room to her boyfriend and adds a goodbye to seamus. i stammer and run out side. i light up a cigarette using my exs zippo. “you should give that back someday yknow?” no shit i know. i’m just not ready at this point. i suppose i nod back to her and hand her a camel. she declines, but puts it in her purse anyway. “so you stayin over tonight or you gonna go home?” she questions as we are walking down mainstreet. i don’t say anything, but she understands that i’m going home eventually. she tells me she doesn’t think i should ride my bike to the apartment, and of course she adds in that i should keep in mind what happened last time. last time i was drunk out of my mind. last time she wasn’t even with me.
we continue walking down the street, her heels are clacking louder than my doctor martens. she takes out her minolta and tells me to stop where i am. she snaps two photos and tells me to keep walking. silence overcomes us for the next few moments until she breaks it and tells me she thinks that i’m going to look too sad in those photos. too sad? bullshit. i shrug, and she is annoyed. she knows that i have barely uttered a word the entire evening. “when are you gettin’ inked next?” she attempts. i tell her in two days and she inquires what i’m getting done. i answer with fatigue that im getting my half sleeve with a map of the constellation. she nods ponderously and then asks if i’ll regret it later on. i scoff and she knows my thoughts on this. we only live once, so why shouldn’t i get something done when i’ve wanted it done since i was sixteen? she adds that was a stupid question and i grimace. after a few more minutes of forced conversation we reach our destination. this new bar is loud and dark and busy. she tells me to sit at a booth and she’d be back with drinks. i look around me, observing the modpodge of people. there are college kids, and lawyers alike in this place. that sort of impressed me, but i didn’t care for the feel of the bar. minutes go by, my judgments of people get worse, and finally she comes back rescuing me from my mind. she puts a manhattan down in front of me. i know that if i drink that i’ll be wasted for the next four days. i look at her, and once again she smiles at me- her hands motioning for me to drink up. i sip at the whiskey and it tastes quite good. the song changes to something strange with a standard bassline. she begins nodding her head in accordance. i stand up and put my jacket on. she says to me over the music, “some friend you are.” and then she giggles. i look at her contemplating whether or not i should leave her, and i decide she’s fine by herself. she comes over to my side of the table and gives me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. she tells me to call the boy and to call her. i nod and walk out.
the icy cold hits against my face, and the pink sky that is only spotted in northern new england lights my way. there are a few other passerbys but they are rowdy and laughing. i walk with my head facing the ground, one foot in front of the other until i meet my destination. the sky was clear, no stars or moon though. i sigh deeply to myself mutliple times. i reach the place i started at- bar number one, and i light up another cigarette. a voice calls out from behind me.
you should probably quit you know
looking behind me, i see the boy, seamus, was his name. he is waving at me and has a cigarette of his own in his mouth.
but then again who am i to be talkin’ (he laughs)
i shrug, words aren’t making it out of my mouth.
so, i’m seamus. your friend told me about you. did she give you my number?
were you planning on calling me?
no. (i grimace)
oh…well, i’d like you to. maybe we could get breakfast sometime (he smiles)
i don’t eat breakfast i hear myself retort.
well, i’ll buy you an allagash.
im trying to cut back.
we could go for a walk.
its too cold outside. i respond.
he laughs and drops his cigarette to the brick ground beneath us. his foot crushes the ember and he approaches closer to me. i feel my eyes looking intently upon his visage.
we can do whatever you’d like. he suggests.
to this i shrug, and he laughs again.
please call me.
why don’t you call me? i question.
i don’t have your number- that’s why.
well, i will call you. need a walk home or something? he questions.
no. i ride my bike.
is the schwinn your bike?
he smiles and says, haven’t seen one of those in a while, where’d you score it?
my grandmother’s will. i respond frankly.
he observes my face and he turns towards the bar. i’ll call you soon. he says.
i will. we’re going to get you some breakfast. he adds.
you look like my ex boyfriend.
he laughs at this. i’m not your ex boyfriend. don’t worry about it. his hand brushes my shoulder and his eyes are gleaming with kindness. sure you can get home fine?
i didn’t drink too much i stammer. his head nods and he tips his hat. i mount my bike and ride up the street- wind brushing my feautures with an antagonizing chill. the street lights are flickering and there’s a flurry of snowflakes falling from the atmosphere. i see more passerbys walking the iced side-walks, all with cigarettes or phones in their hands. the traffic lights are blinking red, but i’m the only one on the road. controlling friends are bad, but at least they keep reality in perspective. as far as the boy goes i can’t help but wonder if he is my ex reincarnated. i whiz by the liquor store and then turn around to enter it. the fluorescent lights burn my eyes and my pale skin. i wander the aisles and pick up a bottle of vodka. the cashier grins at me and collects the last of my money. the bottle of grey goose goes into my wicker basket, and i once again, mount my bike and ride to my apartment. i’m sitting on the steps and drinking vodka. of course, this vodka happens to be better and cheaper than the ones at the bar. i look up into the sky and i see the constellations appearing. i begin imagining outerspace and its boundaries- if there are any. my phone buzzes and consumes my thoughts. an unnamed number appears on the small half inch LCD screen. i answer, and its seamus. brunch tomorrow? miraculously i agree. he laughs, and he tells me the address of the brunch joint and the time. hanging up a stray cat comes and perches itself next to my left foot. my hand gently strokes the kitties head, and purrs soon arise. the first smile of the day is cracked, and a cat was the cause. i’m left alone to my thoughts until an orange cab rolls up in front of my curb. she comes stumbling out of it, her shrill laugh can be heard by the entire neighborhood. she asks if she can stay the evening. i nod yes, and she proceeds up the stairs. when she gets to where i’m sitting, the cat scurries away and she grabs the bottle of vodka out of my hands. she wanders upstairs to my apartment and i’m left alone in the outside. i wonder why i’m her friend.