It was the same table we used to sit at every Friday and Saturday night. The same one where I confessed I loved him, and he confessed he loved me more. The same two chairs that we’d always scoot so closely together, until I could lean on his shoulder as I drunk the weekends away. We were young and foolish, but I missed it dearly.
“Will you be alright?” the bartender asked me, filling up my glass quickly.
I nodded as he handed the fifth shot. With hurrying footsteps, he went over to take their order. He ordered the same as always, with the same tone. Except now he was staring at her, and glancing at her lips, and holding hands under the table like secret high school lovers. None of us were in high school, yet we had enough drama to be.
Tears welled up in my eyes as the same feeling returned. When I’d seen him with her before, I lost my mind. I started screaming and crying and ran out of the library -I always went to the library, and now he did too.
My heart was being stabbed, and my throat felt pierced. All the air escaped me as it fled across the room, fogging the windows. Soon, I couldn’t even see the outside storm. They were covered in that annoying, semi-clear, gray, dense, unexplainable fog. It was like being trapped. If not for the bartender, I might have grabbed the stick from the pool table and stabbed him. To death.
I drank the fifth shot and grinned as it burnt my throat.
“You sure you’ll be okay?”
I hadn’t noticed the bartender returning, but instinctively nodded that I would, in fact, be okay despite the horrible man sitting only a dozen feet away and the dozen knives being stabbed into my heart a dozen times each.
“I’ll take a dozen shots tonight,” I said. “You can just get them all ready now.”
“That’s… You won’t be able to walk!”
“All the same.” I grinned at my own irony, and that turned into a stupid laugh which brought everyone’s attention to me. I thought about whirling around and shouting at Mike, but that thought died down as I took the sixth shot.
“What should I do if you pass out?” the bartender asked me nervously.
“Leave me here.”
“I can’t do that? I’ll get, like… somebody will sue me or something.”
“But that’s what I want!” I demanded.
“Want something else,” he said.
“All the same.” He sighed and leaned heavily on the counter, watching me take the seventh. “Please don’t die on me. You’re one of my best customers.”
“You’re losing a lot of money tonight,” I muttered. “Wouldn’t call me a good customer in that regard.”
“I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about friendships.”
I looked up and saw nervousness and worry all across his expression. I knew I was hurting him through what I did, but I couldn’t stop. I needed to drink, and I needed to drink lots. I just wanted the weekend to end. I wanted to pass out and wake up the next Friday, ready to do it all over again.
I took the eighth shot to steel my heart against compassion.
The piano music grew louder on his phone, reaching the deepest part of the symphony.
“To me, piano music is so much better.” I brushed my hair behind an ear, then rested heavily on that hand, propped up on the counter. “It just… it’s truly emotions turned into music. There are no words to describe it. It just flows; it just makes sense. Not everyone understands it, and that’s why it’s best.”
He nodded. “I like rock and roll. Sixties, seventies, that type. Not the new crap.”
I smirked. “Of course you do.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means I just don’t agree.”
“All the same.” He began to tap on the counter, in rhythm with the piano and violin blaring.
“Hey, will you turn that down?” Mike asked loudly, directing it more at me than the bartender.
The old man winked at me and called back, “Nope.”
Mike stood up from his chair and walked over. I heard the chair push back and the footsteps, but didn’t look up. I didn’t want to see him, or for him to see me. But of course he already had. I felt a conflict growing, and hoped that Mike wasn’t too drunk already. When he was, things could get violent.
Leaning down next to me, he whispered snidely, “How you doing, baby?” I heard his girlfriend chortle from back at their table.
“Get out,” I growled.
“I can be here as long as I like. Even if this old man won’t turn off the-”
“The music stays on. Just because you’re heartless doesn’t mean it’s not good music.” He crossed his arms dramatically.
Mike grinned. “If I remember correctly, you like rock and roll more?”
“I like people more. Instead of douchebags.”
My ex raised an eyebrow. “Are you talking about me?”
“Are you retarded too?” The bartender reached down and turned the music up louder, until it was deafening.
Seeing a lost battle, Mike leant down towards my ear. “Please don’t tell me this is where you spend all your time, with this crusty, old man.”
I didn’t answer. My eyes were tearing up and I thought my voice would choke if I tried to speak.
“Why are you sad, huh? Are you sad I left you? Did you realize just how wrong and just how stupid you really are? You know that every single problem in our relationship was because of you.”
I clenched up my fist and my lips.
“I really don’t miss you, sweetheart. Not in the slightest. I don’t miss this dump, I don’t miss our dates, and I certainly don’t miss the sex. I swear to god you were the worst thing that ever happened to me. So I’d really appreciate if you didn’t come around here, waiting for me. I don’t want to see you, and if you think I’m gonna change my mind and run back to you then you’re dead wrong.”
Shakily, I reached for the ninth shot glass. He noticed.
“You an alcoholic now? A lesbian? Emo? There’s a next step in all those paths, you know. The same last step, and the only way to really make yourself feel better.”
I took a deep breath and downed the ninth.
“Just go fucking kill yourself!”
With a horrible laugh, he skipped away back to his table. I downed the tenth, and turned around to face him. What I saw, instead, was his girlfriend pressed against the wall. He was making out with passionately, doing all the things he used to do to me and right next to our table too. Bile rose up inside me as I clenched my fingers together. The bartender noticed and grabbed a broom.
“Out! Get out!” he shouted, running towards them and whacking.
I downed the eleventh.
Mike and his new lady ran towards the door, both of them shooting me a horrible, nasty glance. I saw the one shot glass in front of me and thought that maybe if I drank it, I would finally die. I couldn’t walk, now. I was about to fall over. So I grasped the cup and turned towards Mike.
Everybody stopped and watched me, knowing full well what a dozen shots could do to me. I grasped it firmly and brought it up to my lips. Then I chucked it across the room, where it smashed against Mike’s forehead and soaked him in the fiery liquid.
He spat at me and turned away, shoving his girlfriend through the door and into the soaking rain. They had left the umbrella, and I hoped they drowned in the rain. Both of them.
“Take me home?” I begged, turning back to my only friend. My voice was slurred, and I was surprised he could understand.
He nodded, and grabbed his keys. “You did a really brave thing.”
I simply nodded and put my arm around him as the bartender led me to his car. He opened the door and helped me sit down. A few minutes later, we were driving through stormy roads and I was frightened that we were going to crash. Maybe I would die anyways.
“Should I take you to your mom’s?” he asked me.
I shook my head. “Not. Mom’ll get mad.”
“Because you drank?”
“Y-y…” I nodded.
“Where do you wanna go then?”
I shrugged, and he took hold of the steering wheel. I leaned back in the seat until I realized we were stopped. Looking out of the window, I saw a blurry, rundown convenience store. He told me to wait and got out of the car.
As soon as he closed the door behind him, I fell asleep. Five minutes later, I was woken by the same door opening and my friend climbing back into his seat. The clock on the dashboard read 12:00 exactly. It was Saturday.
“I got you something,” he said.
I groaned and focused on the yellow plastic bag. It was probably full of medicines.
Instead, he pulled out a disc.
“Classical violin music,” he said. “I prefer it to piano myself, but the two are best when mixed.”
He popped it into the dashboard and the slow tunes began to drift towards me. I felt myself falling asleep as he drove.
“I’m taking you to your mom’s,” he said. “I know where she lives. Mike told me once.”
Mike. I’d forgotten about him.
“Is that alright?” he asked.
I nodded and began to fall asleep.
“I’m glad you didn’t take that last shot,” he said quietly, turning on the windshield wipers. “I think he deserved it more than you.”
I nodded again, my head lulling to the side.
“I wanna… say…”
“What do you need to say?” He glanced at me from the corner of his eye.
“Thank you. Alot.”