i broke the zipper on my last pair of pants; i really had to go. it was my impatience. and since you've left, tequila has burned away my stomach lining and i'm tired and coughing up blood. the drugs don't work. i can't even get numb.

when i saw you, i wanted to say, you can come back anytime, you know. or maybe just ask if you still had the spare key. instead, when you finally noticed me, i was already kissing that dirty old drunk, and it was too late to sentimentalize. you just pushed yourself close up against the bar and settled your tab.

but you were back the night after that, and the night after.

i don't know how it was i didn't speak to you. i watched you flirt and pretended not to, and you were drinking pabst blue ribbon and eating bowl after bowl of stale bar peanuts. i heard you flirting, sounding so intelligent and shocking and callous. i've never gotten anyone but you to talk to me that way, as though i were the only one who would ever understand, like i knew all the same secrets. you have this way of kissing a girl that's like a smack upside the head in an alley fight, or like being disemboweled on the bathroom floor. i looked at the guys across the table and thought that when i got them home, they'd be sloppy and greasy and asleep in ten minutes. i was right about that, too.

i thought that maybe i'd wait and i'd give you your last chance. so i didn't go in, i got a bottle on the corner and i sat outside the back door, in the shadows, crouched and waiting. i drank the whole bottle and i got another and came back and when that was empty i stared up between the power lines for a long time, watching the smog refuse to shift. finally you came out, a fat blonde curled against your waist. you looked right at me, and your mouth opened just a little. then you pulled your collar up with your free hand and kept walking.

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