The bar is smokey and too loud, but somehow the various elements
combine to create a dim, pleasantly cozy atmosphere. The noise makes me
feel like I am not alone, and breathing the thick, too-warm air reminds
me that I am alive.
I lean back on my bar stool and inhale, enjoying the pleasant buzz
of alcohol and the reassuring weight of the drink in my hand. He is
rigidly perched on the stool next to mine, staring at the big
flat-screen TV that is placed on the far wall, over where the
leather couches and low beat-up tables are. His brow is furrowed in
concentration as he pretends interest in the images flashing across
the screen. He is nursing a Sprite. I offer to share my whiskey
sour with him, but he says that he doesn't like whiskey. He likes
ultra-modern, ultra-hip bars, the ones that play the latest hits, and he is not in his element at this crowded bar,
with old rock classics blaring in the background.
The conversation is halting and awkward, interspersed with long
bouts of embarrassing silences, but becomes more fluent and
pleasant as the evening progresses. We talk about current
events, trying to impress each other with our wit and intelligence.
Par for the course.
That is one of the things I like about this bar. The awkward silences are
less noticeable, when you are crowded on all sides, and if you don't have
anything to say, you can pretend to be mouthing along to "Strawberry
I finish my whiskey sour, complete with a slightly dry, withered
looking slice of lime. I catch the bartender's eye and ask him if
he has schnapps. After a few quick exchanges, he replaces my
empty whiskey glass with a tumbler of melon schnapps on ice. I sip
it, savoring the fruity flavor. I'm feeling pleasantly dizzy.
At this moment in time, everything is right in the universe. I reach out and touch his
hand, and he reaches over to rest his hand lightly on my denim-clad
thigh. We smile at each other, co-conspirators in the understanding
that we are coming to.
"Finish your drink, and let's get out of here," he drawls, his eyes roaming over me.
We pay up, leaving a meager tip, since both of us are
low on small change. I feel slightly bad for the bartender. We emerge.
It is quiet out here, after the noise and humidity of the crowded bar.
We stand there in the street for a moment in silence, inhaling the
cool, clean air deep into our lungs.
"Where do you want to go now?" I ask, "I don't really feel like going home quite yet."
He doesn't hesitate. "We could go see a movie at my place, if you
like." He smirks slightly as he says this. The invitation is
implicit. I know that he doesn't really want to see a movie with me,
although there are many other things that he would like to do to
and with me, and he knows that I know this.
"Yeah? What movie were you thinking of?" I ask, playing along.
"I haven't really thought about it," he says, honestly enough, "let's figure it out once we get there, eh?"
We enter his apartment in near-silence. It's plush and very clean,
for a young man living on his own. His parents must be helping him
out. He doesn't bother to offer me a drink. He leads me straight to his
bedroom. It is a large, airy space and the floor is a warm
herringbone parquet. Very nice.
"So, what movies do you have?" I ask, playfully collapsing
on his bed. The sheets are luxuriously soft, I
He collapses next to me. "I'm not really in much of a movie-watching
mood, to tell you the truth." His voice is husky. He leans over
and kisses me.
We kiss for a while. We roll around on his bed, cool mint sheets against warm skin.
He is a good kisser, but I feel like I'm just going
through the motions. I push my tongue deeper into his mouth, trying to feel something instead of this
emptiness. He is a fine specimen of a man, tall, broad-shouldered and
muscular. A few minutes ago, I wanted this. I wanted him.
His hands are now roaming up and down my back, and he is
inching my shirt up slowly. He has disposed of his own shirt already. It is lying on the floor now, a forlorn black shape slowly sinking into a
hard wooden sea. I shiver. This isn't what I want, I realize.
"No. Not like this", I say. Gently but firmly, I detach his hands from my ass.
"No?" He asks, drawing back a little. I can tell that he thinks I'm
hard to get, not sure how he should be reacting.
"I'm tired", I state, getting up and starting to hunt for my
strappy heels. One of them is underneath his bed, next to his
crumpled shirt, and the other is on his desk, next to his cellphone.
Strange. Did I put it there? I don't remember, and it
doesn't really matter, now.
"I want to go home." I busy myself by putting my sandals on, first
the right, then the left, carefully
not looking at him.
He scrambles into a sitting position. He looks foolish, sitting on
the edge of the rumpled bed, shirtless with tousled hair. He looks
confused, and perhaps a little hurt. I feel bad, and avoid his eyes.
To his credit, he doesn't argue with me or try to convince me to stay.
"Want me to drive you?" He offers, half-heartedly. But there is something else there. Concern.
I wince at the thought of walking back to my apartment in my
heels. But it's a short walk, only 15 or 20 minutes, and it is a safe
"No, thank you. I'll walk."