My sirens live at the bottom of a bottle and I am a weak sailor.
I put back what’s left in my glass. The singing stops. I sigh and head for the bar. It is thick and long like a clichéd euphemism; the kind that goes cloc-cloc when you rap it. I order another drink. I wait. To my right a woman is drinking something brown and straight. She turns, she looks into my eyes.
I smile and say, “I want to talk to you but I am not sober enough to be sure I’d get it up on the very slim chance you’d want it to go anywhere. Uhh…” I finish, gracefully.
She stares at me, blank. Then, she starts laughing. It hits me right behind the eye. I sit on the stool and look down at my own hands.
“Uh, I’m so sorry,” I manage. I feel the air in the room dance around her as she stands and moves to sit next to me. I flinch when she sits down.
“It’s okay,” she says, you can’t help it. Trust me, it’s not the worst I’ve heard.”
I turn and try to smile, awkwardly. I hit her eyes, they are silver and full of everything I’ve ever wanted to know about poetry.
“I want to run away now and think about past girlfriends to reassure myself that women do in fact like me sometimes, Ah! Ah!”
I shut my mouth. I stare wide eyed straight ahead. I take a drink. The woman puts her hand on my shoulder. I can feel her smile in her hand, though a dare not look at her face.
“You really can’t help it, it’s me.”
I open my mouth. Close it, concentrate, open it again.
“What do you mean?” I say, quickly.
She removes her hand and picks up her glass to take a drink.
“Its just how we were made,” she says.
I say nothing. She motions to the bartender and has a drink put in front of me.
“It really is nice, if that is the worst you got. People have said things you wouldn’t believe,” she makes a sound like someone who has just been vomited on, “that’s why most of us spend our time in bars. The alcohol helps us forget,” she finishes with a sad lilt in her tone. I feel sympathetic, I want to comfort her, but I don’t dare open my mouth.
She drums her fingers, it sounds like wind chimes. I take down my drink in one; as I do, when I don’t know what else to do. I take a breath. The desire to run starts in my feet, it travels through my body and grips the back of my head like someone attempting to drown me.
I stand. I look at the back of my own hands, they are pale.
“I want to be special,” I tell them, “I want to be the only person who could say honest things without any shame, but” I frown, “but I can’t.”
I put money down on the bar, I don’t know how much. I glance once more at the woman. Her light eyes are dull and wet like a dead sea in the morning.
“I’m sorry,” I manage. I knock over a stool in my hurry for the door.
I get out into the night, it holds me. I light a cigarette and stumble home.