In the Dark

He said the thing to do is drink ’til you don’t can’t.

-Miriam Toews from The Flying Troutmans

It’s not a competition. That’s what I tell myself. But, it eats me up inside. Phantom hands against your skin; the idea turns the liquor sour on my tongue. I shrug it off, play at nonchalance, fake it til you make it and place the emptying cup carefully on the wooden stair. It’s late, after three, and the city is sleeping. I lay back–head resting on the door mat–and stare at the stars blinking in and out of focus; I can almost reach them. The line is quiet and the phone is heavy in my hand. My curiosity got the best of me and now I’m choking on the consequences.

“Well, I guess I’ll let you go…” I trail off sadly and click the phone off.

The fruitlessness of my position is getting to me. The desires lingering unfulfilled. My inability to hold you and be held. I need something tangible, someone I can feel, something real underneath my fingertips. The light from the back door is inviting. Upstairs my friend sleeps and I could easily do the right thing, crawl in bed beside her and sleep off this sadness, the edges raw from alcohol. But, I don’t. I am over the fence, hesitating inside his door, and then finding him there in the dark before my judgment has a chance to catch up with me.

“I was hoping you would come; I left the door unlocked for you.” He whispers in my hair.

I can’t bring myself to answer; already hating myself for needing his hands on the small of my back, his words in my ear. His lips claim mine and I don’t pull away. I shouldn’t be here. But, I am so damn lonely.

“I miss you.”

He is familiar, his body unchanged. He kisses my forehead and then the tears from my eyes. He holds me, sighing deeply. In the dark I squeeze my eyes shut and pretend he is you; for a moment almost–but, not quite–believing the lie. Enough. Enough, now.

Jose Gonzalez – Crosses


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