I wretched with aplomb, spewing my guts out upon newly mowed lawn, mixing toxic with the summer smells grass and blossoms give up. More then cheap burgundy spewed forth as I leaned on the quiet elm for support, anxiety attached to shattered dreams convulsed desperately, joining the wine exiting my body. Again and again my stomach twisted itself trying to reverse another night of drinking. All I cared about was the nightly ritual ending and getting some sleep, the elm just watched in silence not passing judgment not leaving me, alone.
A few hours earlier, I had been sitting at a local dive listening to Billy Joel or maybe it was someone else, I didn’t care. I only wanted the bartender to keeping filling my glass with a hearty burgundy, I was hungry to feel the grapes slide down my throat sending alcohol shivers throughout my body, anesthetizing me from myself, erasing the cheap chalkboard my life had become.
“Another round Joe”? The bartender said, a tooth pick balancing on his cracked lip, I looked straight through him without answering , gazing at my own reflection in the mirror behind the bar, wondering who I was looking at or maybe wondering what I was looking at. “Another round Joe” the bartender said placing his hand on my shoulder and shaking me just a little. “Sure” I said, “fill it up.” the bartender topped off my glass and took two bucks from the pile of ones laying in front of me.
At first I didn’t know she was talking to me, “buy me a drink” floated into my consciousness from somewhere but I didn’t connect with it. Again. “buy me a drink” took up space around me and I turned my head to see a woman old enough to be my mother sitting next to me, she smiled pushing a little piece of crumpled paper into my hand and again said, “buy me a drink.” I signaled the bartender who was already bringing what looked like a double on the rocks, he picked through the pile of ones taking what he needed and retreated. “Thanks hon” dribbled out from behind the glass.
Without my asking she told me her name was Abagail. I looked into her eyes and saw nothing so I looked down at the piece of paper she had shoved into my hands. On the paper was her name and some letters and numbers, it said FWO21. I wasn’t sure what it meant but I knew she was looking to hook up and at this point in the night even I would do, even the bi-speckled drunk at the end of the bar would do.
Looking up from the cryptic note and into her eyes once more, I saw even less then nothing I saw my own reflection, and not wanting to keep looking at myself I raised my hand touching her neck, gently I tugged her toward me till our lips met in a wet embrace of booze and cigarettes. Her tongue burst into my mouth as if it was exploding, it took up so much space I thought I would choke, then just as quickly she pulled it back into her own mouth signaling me, to tongue her. I snickered a bit at this but went ahead and filled her up, she bit down and sucked like I could not believe, and then released me. All the while our mouths plundered the other our hands were desperately pulling at the other, our hands touched the other with loneliness and sadness. We sucked each others mouth in desperation, knowing our lives were winding down. We both touched the other but were really grabbing at our own lost dreams.
“Time to go Joe” interrupted our making out, “gotta close up, Joe” the bartender proffered. I grabbed Abagail’s hand leading her outside, she pulled me to her car where she opened the rear door, then she crawled in and beckoned me to join her. For ten minutes we kissed and ground the coffee, into dark dust laced with tears.
I wretched with aplomb, embracing the stars on a warm summer evening.