Consciousness unhinged.

There is too much traffic and too much noise. This room is too crowded and the crowd has too many unfamiliar faces. Slipping into the void. Someone takes the tally sheet and erases it before they crumple it up and throw it at your feet. She is still sitting there and the tears are coming slow enough for you to count them in between sips of your beer, which at the moment is all you really want to be concerned about.

You talk too much.

She made these decisions on her own, but there is no denying that they were made with prodding from other parties. She married a guy she doesn't love and for the most part doesn't even like. It was done because it was "the right thing to do" under the circumstances. When you've seen someone standing alone bleeding you wonder if that is worth the price of maintaining their soul. She figured this way would be easier. Every year it gets harder. Every day is worse than the last and someone is squeezing the joy out of even the most spectacular moments that get sprinkled across her life.

The self keeps melting away.

People like her pass us on the street every day, but until we make a connection with them we never know the heart of the story. Why do they swear at traffic lights and glare at us when they are standing behind us in line at the grocery store? Her dark eyes used to be so bright, but then the spiral began and nothingness pulled hard on the hem of her skirt. Before long she was on her knees praying for an opportunity to go back and start again from some point before it all fell apart. Now she renders herself incapable of feeling the pain of a hollow existence by drinking vodka with a splash of cranberry juice and tipping well so that they keep coming even after she is past the point of no return.

Let us sin without even trying.

There is a hotel behind the bar where you once went with her at closing time. You knew you weren't the only one, but you just wanted to keep her from driving home. All you intended to do was put her to bed and make sure she stayed where she was, but somehow there is a seductive power held by the needy and depressed that few can overcome. When that is all they have to make themselves feel better it is hard to reject them on principle. "Am I still beautiful?" is a question that rings in your ears for hours after you drive home and hope she'll be okay. In the meantime a little bit of you dies because they're insisting on playing that song on the radio again.

The morning either comes too soon or not soon enough.

The physical part does little more than reassure her that she is still desirable despite all that has happened since the days when she shined brightly. There is more in the words she wants to hear and the greater ease with which they flow when your bodies are intertwined. You feel something as well, as if for just this one moment you are a white knight rescuing the princess from her prison of self-destruction. For one moment of falsified clarity you feel alive and so does she. Then the dying begins again.

She is a river.

There is an impending hangover that is only mildly related to the alcohol you have consumed. You watch the face of the desk clerk as you walk past, still dressed in the clothes you wore the night before, your hair a rat's nest that indicts you for all you have done in the past six hours. There is shame and anguish, but there is a sickly sense of triumph you cannot deny yourself. You smiled as you get behind the wheel and mutter to yourself "hey, I scored" and then drive home for a shower that is never hot enough to burn away the layers of regret that your own life is beginning to accumulate.

There's so much you want to say, but you hold it all in.  You steal a glance at her, a figure of regret, trapped in days past, weeping over her loss.
 
You take her hand, but it is, after all, not yours to hold, and doesn't seem right.  At the moment, nothing seems right.  The vodka kicks you in the brain, and once again your mind struggles against irrationality; straining to avoid that nonsensical slur, so characteristic of those who've had a drop too much.  Through the pea-soup of your conciousness, you are intensely aware of her pain, and part of yourself hurts with her.

She's a good friend, and up until the past hour-mark or so, you've always thought of her as such, nothing more.  You try to say something comforting, but it doesn't come out right, and would slam your head against the wall, if you only had the energy to do so.  Her tear-streaked face, framed by dark, shoulder length hair, shadowed by the warm fuzzy glow of a dying halogen bulb, a picture of self-reproach.  It isn't even her fault... you know that much.  You so want to make her believe, to make her see.

She withdraws her hand, and sinks once again into introspection.  You just sit there, dumb as a hammer, hoping to God your presence is making some sort of difference...

The minutes pass, your mind clears, and the tears on her face dry, though not totally - leaving barely tangible stains on her beautiful cheeks.  You suggest taking a walk, which seems to be the only sensible thing to do given the circumstances

As two lonely figures walk briskly into the cold, dark night, you wonder if you're ever going to find the right words to say what you truly feel - at least in this lifetime.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.