Tonight, you will go to a bar. One of two things will happen.
You have been drinking since you got home from work. Staring at your empty but messy room makes you long for something different, more interesting, or anything that will make you feel better than the way you felt your whole life.
You leave your apartment and head south. There is one bar in your mind, it's the one bar the college kids have, somehow, not found out about. This pleases you. As you see the bar come into focus over the horizon, the wind hits your face and blows the hair out of your face. You think of Autumn. You think of the way you spent the past year. You grit and grind your teeth until you breach the threshold of the bar.
As you walk up to the bar, you'll order a bucket of beer for thirteen dollars. You pull out twelve and promise the bartender you will pay him back tomorrow, he says not to worry about it. You grab the bucket and take a look around the room.
It is an older crowd. Older, blue-collar, gentlemen that only have nice things to say about their children and terrible things to say about the women that walk in and out of the bar. You will smirk to yourself but keep your mouth shut.
You sit in the corner booth, the same booth you and your ex used to sit in night after night and drink to yourself quietly. You start to think about your new job and your new friends. You worry they will find out the truth about you the same way your ex found out. You continue to drink.
After the bucket finds itself empty and you find yourself filled with cheap beer, you will stumble out of the bar and light a cigarette. The walk back to your apartment hurts your knees. You start to think you've walked down the wrong street. The red door to your apartment enters your view and you feel relieved.
You head to the bathroom and after you flush the toilet you stare at yourself in the mirror. "This is all you will ever be", you mutter to yourself, "This is the reason you are alone".
With A Stranger
You are sitting alone in your room, shifting a quarter between the knuckles of your right hand. You are listening to a CD your best friend made for you before he moved away. Your eyes are shut and you're more excited to spend the night alone than you have been in a long time. But your phone will buzz with a text message.
"Bar? Ten minutes?"
You respond, "Make it five and you got a deal."
You meet your friend at a bar. They are with their significant other and you feel resentment boil inside of your stomach. You leave the bar after one drink and walk into another one a couple of blocks away. You take a seat in the corner and order yourself something hard,
something that will make you feel like you are drinking fire.
Twenty minutes pass and someone taps your shoulder. They call you by your name and ask what you're still doing in the town you so adamantly hate. You tell them you're making ends meet and laugh. They take a seat down next to you.
You look into their eyes, they are glowing in the light of the candle and the cheap whiskey you have been drinking all night. They smile at you, you bite your lip, they bite theirs. They make fun of you for talking out of the side of your mouth. And you smile that sideways smile you've always had. They mention that they only live a block up the street. You playfully ask, "Are you inviting me up?" and wink. They nod, grab your hand, and you try not to fall out of the bar.
You kiss and touch and laugh and everything starts to fade away.
You wake up the next morning and you can't remember the specifics of what happened. You are sure of what did happen, though. You turn over and see the person you met the night before. The sunlight bleeds through the drapes and you move the hair out of their face to get a better look at them. They are peaceful and quiet. They wake up and smile.
"You need to leave" they say.
You nod, stumble out of the bed, and sloppily put your clothes back on. As you leave the apartment, you stop at their fridge and steal a beer from a six pack. "I'm going to need this" you mumble to yourself.
You finish the beer during your walk home. You enter the bathroom and after washing your face, you stop and stare at yourself for what feels like forty-five minutes.