Empty Bottle at a Northside Bar

She twirls her brassy shoulder length hair between her ring and middle fingers and talks excitedly about her most recent first date.

“One of the best first dates I’ve ever had!” She says candidly, like stage cameras are on her. She’s out tonight. Her husband is at home, their open marriage being a typical conversation piece amongst their friends.

I am off to the side balancing my freshly bruised sense of emotional self between my lips and the bottle of cheap beer I’m sipping. I slow it down long enough to even enjoy my backwash, trying to avert my wandering ear to more fruitful conversation. I know it’s not attractive to be jealous, but I’m not my Sunday best lately. I’ve been drinking too much and sleeping too late, feeling the gray side of autumn where I should be feeling golden. I feel a herculean pull to my lost lover and I’m unsure if it heals or hurts me. I want to hold his hands as if they were Pandora’s box. I want to taste his kiss as if it were Eden’s apple.

But I want other things too-like forgiveness for not knowing how to love or how to be loved, and if I’m honest I also really want this girl to shut up.

She doesn’t, and I look down at the empty bottle between my hands Emand back over to her pint glass that is fresh and full. I think about abundance and casting a wider net. I think about the lineup I had in my younger days, and while I want to rally and tell myself that I have a pure heart despite my insecurities and one day someone will be into that, I recede into my shame and resolve that such a thing does not exist.

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