I haven’t come here in months.
The place still smelled of misspend and I tasted like salt. The night felt young but innocence was nowhere in sight. I approached the bar bumping into breaths of distress.
“What’s your name?”
“Mind your fucking business.”
I kept walking.
I recognized her vulgar posture across the room. She is tall, loud, and blind towards her deadly dependence. We met years ago and even then her ways were laid flat like concrete. She chooses to pass life with fervor of destruction. Tonight we have nothing in common.
“About time. Thought I was doing another round all by myself.”
I hop up on the bar chair. It’s officially a month of me wearing work pants. It’s a new achievement and I am the only person gloating about it.
“What’s your friend’s name?”, says an unfamiliar voice. I look behind Lisa and there he is. A short male with a voice that sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Another stranger. I look over at Lisa. She shrugs.
“Alrighty then,” I grab my bag and put my right foot down. I immediately decide that I don’t want that kind of a night.
“Don’t start. You took too long!”
“It’s called a job. The thing that usually pays your drinks when we go out.”
“Don’t lose your mind”, she gets up pulling onto my arm.
As we dance, I keep staring at the ceiling.
I smell coffee which used to be my favorite way to wake up. I quit caffeine eleven days ago. Although my youth refused the habit of smoking, I figured it felt as good as quitting cigarettes. The smell haunts you for far too long.
The sheets feel crisp. I tried to remember what he looked like. I remembered curls because his hair reminded me of my sister’s poodle. Unfortunately, I don’t remember them that well either.
I open my eyes to see a smile and untamable hair greeting me.
“With brown sugar. Just how you like it.”
I forgot he was a barista. It’s been weeks and I still don’t know how to pronounce his name. He’s too foreign and that we do have in common.
“What time is it?”
“You were worn out last night, so I let you sleep in.”
“Time. What time is it?
I jump up and begin collecting my belongings. I stand in the middle of the room looking for the rest of my clothes until I feel him behind me. He holds my jacket with his left hand and shifts my hair with his right.
“Why don’t you stay for a bit?”
I turn around and grab my jacket.
“I’m late for a meeting.”
Another good thing about being employed is that you can make excuses. But there was no meeting. It was Saturday and we both knew I just needed to get out.
In a grocery store I notice the cashier’s watch. It says half past six but that was two hours ago. I stare out the door in hope for time to pass quicker.
Not even a year ago, I would begin my day around now. Only then my life had style instead of routine. I never knew the time and even if I did, it meant nothing.
I revived with the black sky, as the narrow cobblestone streets led me to a hole in the wall that I labeled “my life” and others preferred to call a “hobby”.
I feel sorry for the people that never allow themselves to live for pleasure. Satisfaction comes without a measure or a timetable but too many are afraid of the chaos it comes with.
“Do you have a quarter?”
“A quarter… I’m a quarter short.”
“Yeah, yeah” I feel my pockets and pull out all of my change.
He grabs all that’s in my palm and leaves without saying thanks.
I turn to the cashier.
“I have a question for you. How do you fight the feeling of something missing when everything in your life is going right?”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.”
Sometimes you give everything to arrive somewhere new only to realize you no longer belong to even yourself.