23 April, 2008


It had not been a good evening. She wanted to stay in the apartment, I desperately wanted to be the fuck out of there on a Friday night like a normal goddam twenty-five-year-old.

We lived together in Tacoma Park, an ex-urb so close to DC you would smell the Potomac if your stood in the right spot.

She gave in and decided to drive us to a bar she had been to on Connecticut Avenue.

"Why are you taking this way? We're going around half the freaking Beltway. ...We should've just parked and taken the Metro, like I said before."

"This is the only way I know how to go where we're going -- and we're already driving, so just be quiet."

I was getting the shakes. And I couldn't let her see that. ...The alcohol withdrawal drove an impatience that bordered on insanity...

Still, who the fuck drives slower than the speed limit?

I held my tongue and wrenched my hands all the way to The Four Provinces, a not-so Irish bar. It took us forty-five minutes to get there when it should have taken fifteen. ...Or would have, if I had driven.

But she drove because both of us knew I was going to get loaded... I physically needed to at that point.

She parked her Beetle on the street a few blocks away from the bar. We walked, picking our way along curbs and jaywalking across four-lane streets, never touching.

We got a table for two once we were inside. I immediately ordered a Guinness plus one because the place was so busy I knew it would be a while before we saw our waitress again.

"Did you know Guinness has less alcohol in it that Busch Light?"

Her stare answered: How could you possibly think I would care?

She stared off and twirled the stem of her wine glass in her fingers.

God I wished she would just get drunk so we could fucking forget about everything...

I finished my first glass in three gulps and held up a hand to the waitress for a third.

I finally felt not-sick.

I calmed. Everything around me stopped being an assault on my senses.

I sat back in my chair and looked at her: her thin top gathered by a string that was knotted loosely around her champagne-flute neck; her witch-black hair so long it almost touched the ground; her eyes large orbs of undisturbed water on a night full of clouds, glistening.

I had never told her that I loved her. I wanted to, then.

"What? Why are you looking at me like that? ...You can't be drunk already."

"No, I'm not. It's just...

"...You look good tonight.

"You always look good."

"I like the band that's playing."

"So do I."

I cupped the hand she had around the wine glass and bent over the table. I kissed her on one of her cheeks, which felt delicate as paper-thin glass to my lips. Then we pressed our heads together, side by side.

When I sat back both of us were smiling.

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