The Year

by Dena Rash Guzman

And we met in the dark, on the bar patio. The stars barely flitted through the smog so that no stellar light reflected in your eyes, only the red end of your cigarette, which you held the wrong way like some naughty little SS agent. I didn’t like your nose and your purse didn’t go with your coat. This is how the lonely start fighting: I knew you’d never be good enough for me. I’d rather have been at home in my slightly shitty underwear unable to find porn wrong enough to get me off, frustrating myself like a cold and ruthless spouse. This is what I think of you and this what I’ve thought from the moment we met, and yet I asked you some stupid question to get you to talk to me.

Pathetic how you tried to answer like a droll doll. You never fancied theater, did you? I gestured you toward the bar and we drank down a couple of pretentious historical drinks before stumbling out the doors, before we staggered up the avenue toward my skyscraping hotel. The stars were still and sad, weaklings at the beach. Hopeless but the elevator took us to the rented bed where we fucked until the drug of the hunt wore off. You on your knees trying to find your sock – that’s the part of miniskirts and boots that turn me off. The socks. I held the door for you and we fell like pigeons God forgot, like Newtonian apples back into the muck of our own desperate quarters. All of this and yet I called you again and here we sit, a year later, sucking down the same drinks. You head to the patio for a studied smoke, a transparent and unfeminine little maneuver you think makes the socks forgivable. You know how much I hate the socks.

Happy Anniversary.