His voice was hoarse, and his words were slurred. They couldn’t understand him, and they just kept walking.
Friday night. He had gone to the bar because he couldn’t stand the silence in his apartment anymore, and when he couldn’t stand the noise in the bar anymore he would go back to his apartment. Now, he sat and sipped a beer at a table in the corner. He would probably have one or two more. He had been trying to drink less. The bar was packed. Warm bodies surrounded him. It was fine with him. He wasn’t thinking about anything. The beer tasted good. He closed his eyes.
He opened his eyes again. A girl had come from somewhere and was standing over his table, looking at him. She was younger than him, maybe 22. Blonde, slightly skinny, almond-colored eyes. Her makeup was thick and heavy. A mask. She was smiling at him, a little nervously. There was something nervous about her whole demeanor, the way she carried herself. She was like a teenager waiting for a ride at the side of the road, hoping no one would notice she was alone. He returned her gaze. “Hello?”
“Can I buy you a drink?”
“If you want. High Life.”
She came back a minute later with the beer and a whiskey. She sat down across from him and took the shot. She sat there staring into the empty glass, not saying anything, turning it between her hands like a lens that was out of focus. He took a sip of beer, for politeness, and because he wanted to.
“You can get another of those,” he said, motioning at the glass. “If you want. On me, this time.”
“Thank you,” she said quickly, almost whispering, like she could barely force the words out, and slipped quickly back to the bar. She came back with another and then downed it, too. She glanced up at him.
“You think you can say whatever it is you wanna say now?”
“Why do you think there’s something I wanted to say?”
“Is there not?”
She was silent for a long time. He waited, sipped his beer. “Sorry, you’re right. There is something…” she trailed off. He kept waiting, saying nothing. Then, abruptly: “Do you think I’m pretty?”
“Sure. I mean, of course.” He had been caught off guard, and was more honest than he had wanted to be.
“You mean that?”
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t I?”
“Would you like to take me home?”
“Listen, I don’t really have much cash–”
“Oh, no,” she was blushing. “That’s not what I meant. I’m not… that’s not what this is.”
“Okay.” He wasn’t sure he believed her. “Don’t you want to get to know me first?”
“No, I mean, it doesn’t make a difference, I mean, I can just tell you’re alright. Right? You are, aren’t you?”
“Well, that’s a matter of opinion.”
“I think you’re alright. Look, I really want to go home with you. Can I?”
“I’d like to finish my beer first.”
“That’s okay,” she said. “I’ll wait.” He noticed she was shaking, just a little.
“You can have another drink if you want, on my tab.”
She just nodded and went. When she got back he asked her, “What’s your name?”
“I’d rather not say,” she said.
“Okay,” he said, and they sat in silence while he finished his beer.
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