Two friends walk into a bar. Low lit and empty, they enter unnoticed. It’s one of those dark inviting dives where the neon signs flicker outside large and brilliant, drawing in the drunks and the damned like moths. To laugh, to live. To forget what they had laughed about or what they were living for. My friend orders us a drink and we drink. We’ve been drinking for a while. Celebrating something that wasn’t really worth celebrating but still worthy of being an excuse to celebrate. Then, from stage right, a woman takes a stool next to me at my three o’clock. Right away I catch the blonde. A warning sign, an omen, falling about her face in yellow locks. Blondes. You underestimated them, always. They either bounced off you with harmless plastic limbs or they sank those nails deep into your skin. You could never tell what was going to happen, until it was too late.
This one, she wasn’t armed. After a while of being scratched by women, you can just tell. Which ones are crazy and which ones are crazier. She had that ordinary blonde hair you find on the scalps of those dime a dozen babes that just blend in with the scenery. Not a wallflower. More like an extra on a set to fill space. To take up stools.
Under that ordinary blonde hair, I see thin lips and brown eyes that harbor a fog. Her eyes hold no signs of danger, life, or insanity. They were the kind of eyes you see glowing in the skulls of animals at the zoo. A captive. She hums no energy and her body emits no vitality. She hides whatever she has got under layers of over sized sweat pants. Like a single mother that just woke up to cook breakfast for her bastards. If she was trying to get the fellas to use their imaginations, all I could imagine was her changing diapers. She is just filling space with those sweats. Most of the time, you don’t want men to use their imaginations.
But that enigmatic ass under all those baggy clothes isn’t going anywhere. She sees my eyes firm at 12 o’clock and this is bad, because they are not on her. She pokes me and there is a coy smile stretched across those thin lips. Goddamn women and their poking. I lost my virginity all because a girl poked me. I knew exactly what it meant. Even then, an eighteen year old virgin waiting for a love that never came. I guess I have always been impatient.
I see no ring on the hand that tapped my ribs. She gives me a name I immediately forget. I stare into my bottle when I speak to her. It’s cool, inviting, refreshing–in stark contrast to her and her body. Luke warm and tepid. Too much head and a sour aftertaste. Our bodies can say so much. Her’s– it wasn’t saying much of anything.
Time drags it’s fat ass on and the medicine kicks in. The more I pay attention to the drink, the more attractive she gets. She goes from ordinary to pretty with each swig and satisfying sigh. Her body–it finally starts talking. We talk with our eyes and our smiles. That real drunk talk where no one says a damn thing worth saying. It’s just noise. That forced preliminary babble. The foreplay before the foreplay. My tongue was as silver as her earnings Or just as false. I didn’t know. I didn’t care.
She laughs at my jokes. Those thin dry lips get fuller as she inches over to me. Slowly. Scooting her ass over in that stool till we are almost sitting on one conjoined chair. As I lose my own wits, she seems to gain some of her own. Blondes…you always underestimate them. The fog in her eyes finally clears and even begin to teem with life.
On that bench we had made of our stools, we share a moment. We close our lips. We shut up. There was no need to say anything anymore and we knew it. We listen to the music. It’s St. Patrick’s Day. A bow draws at a fiddle, fast and hard. Inviting everyone to take up arms and dance in celebration. But I am too tired to dance and my co-star, in those baggy stay-at-home-mom clothes of hers, she doesn’t look like much of a dancer. So, we sit. Like dogs waiting for their bowl. A couple of Orphan’s in a Dicken’s novel.
Without warning, breaking what stillness we had conjured, she pulls herself into me. She lays that ordinary blonde head on my shoulder and there she stays, extraordinarily. The audience gasps! She wasn’t drunk; and if she was, she was a poor actress. That’s why she didn’t have many lines. But this is what lovers do. They find comfort in each others arms. They hold hands. They wallow in indecision about what to eat for dinner. This isn’t love. Not even close. Then again, how I would know? I guess if you have to ask, you are not.
She is just lonely.
But why is she doing that?
Just let her have this.
And it’s intimacy. Just a surrender to what blissful silence exists in such places. Satiated of our ever present hunger of joining bodies. Not sex. Just touch. A connection linked and intertwined in our hair. It’s a PG film. Soothing and comforting. It’s simple. But is anything, really?
I had the scent of woman under my nose. That smell you only catch in fleeting moments. In casual greetings and embraces. When a girl passes you by on a sidewalk or an aisle and you catch the perfume in her wake. All that aroma and pheromones stirring your loins. Your design. But I don’t want her that way. It’s far from my mind. Then, I lay my heavy head atop hers for a while. Cause I know at any moment, this will all be over. And this moment, it’s nice; being alone together.
It’s a scene from a film. A Kodak shot of two pretend lovers sitting under the spot light of a couple flat screens. Both our bottles are empty and neither of us ask for another. This is enough. The dwindling crowd behind us seems to speed up. Or we have just slowed down. The hours and seconds we had so willingly set our lives to were forgotten and time no longer existed in space of the art we had created. This romantic portrait of make believe we have painted with our own fingers. Right now, for a moment, we are not alone. Even if we are just acting. Even if it’s just pretend. It’s okay to pretend sometimes.
I grab her chin gently but firmly, to pull her lips toward mine. Those ordinary lips that suddenly turned so inviting. I wanted them. If for no other reason than to have them. Pressed against mine, warm with fever. Wet with dreams. To solidify the moment we made together. A kiss for a signature. I hold her face softly between my fingers and bring her in slow. This can be our dance. Let’s not let the music fall to waste. I wanted contact. I wanted collision. I just wanted something.
Before my lips can touch hers, she moves in my hand. She turns away. They miss their mark and graze her cheek. And her ass finally gets up from the stool.
Not even a nod or a backward glance.
Just two empty bottles and a man at a bar. He doesn’t watch her leave. His eyes lower to the drinks. He fumbles for change in his pocket. He pulls out some cash and orders another. The stool on his right remains empty. And he forgets.