My car headlights scribble into a mess as they try to figure out the vulnerable pieces of this dark night. I fall into what I do best: thinking deeply, shaking wet noodle thoughts through the mental strainer, watching the good parts stick to me as the unnecessary elements sink into the drain of negativity where I chop them into forgettable pieces. 

A song on the radio plays memories for me; I run through the best of them before finding myself on the outskirts of town, at a karaoke bar, where the girl who called me earlier in the evening sings a song on stage. The men at the bar pause what they’re doing and watch this girl like she’s always been the lighthouse to their slowly sinking ship. In between breaths, she smiles at me. The old man at the end of the counter asks what in God’s name I’ve done to earn her attention. I don’t have a proper answer for him so he buys me a drink and tells me to think on it.

As the moon continues its march across the midnight sky, the girl and I leave the bar, that colorful dress curling around her as the car radio colors us in blue on our drive to the Westside of town. We pause at red lights, idling on kisses until the lights turn green. She ruffles my hair and dangles her hand out the open window. Parking in a lot outside of a tired bar, she slides over the center console and into the driver seat with me. The small of her back brushes the car horn. Her fingers find my neck, and the goosebumps she’s created there. And the bar, with its crimson light and cigarette smoke, with its clash of insobriety, does not seem enticing; certainly not enough to break the tangle we’ve ensnared ourselves in.

How funny…I thought I’d lost my Fridays. But they found me again, the night scene fitting me well: jeans on the lampshade, enjoying the darkness without any light, the comforter all over the place, in bundles, kicked to the floor. And those bare shoulder blades pressing into my chest, the heaving and falling breath of this girl a prerequisite to unbridled sleep.


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