Updated: Dec 10, 2019
I met you while I was bartending - coming right off a breakup, I didn't realize how much of a mess I was at the time. I thought I had it all together; a busy work schedule, daily writing sessions, weeknight plans with friends, a seemingly contended demeanor.
I guess I thought if I acted as though everything was okay, I would believe that I was okay.
You came along at precisely the best and worst time. I had needed a distraction - a reason to regularly check my phone and indulge in endless conversation - anything to escape the silence of my own mind.
I liked the attention; the random thinking of you morning text; the late hours into the afternoon where you'd indulge me with the indelicate details of your mind. I played into it well. You enjoyed playing the game.
Our moments together were short; just brief enough for no one to be curious of where you'd been. I remember you'd pick me up, I'd be anxious on our drive, my fingernails digging into the worn out leather of your passenger seat. I'd smile at your tacky jokes and look out the window calculating how many years your personality added onto your age.
I'm sure you thought you were being slick; a man fifteen years my senior flirting with the bartender he never thought he'd be sitting parallel with in his car. You feigned spontaneity when you'd come up with a random weekday plan, but after just a few weeks of this, I caught on to your estimations and manipulations. Nothing was ever impromptu and on a whim - you were too mundane for that.
I knew what you were; I knew what I was being. It was only momentary; something loose and free flowing; never solid enough to stick. I just needed a set of eyes on me so that my own eyes wouldn't chase after what I was missing. And surprisingly enough, you happened to do the trick. Until I grew tired of your tricks.
Before you'd drop me off, you'd take one final glance in the rear view mirror, verifying that everything looked the way it did before you left; no red remnants on the borders of your lips. I'd get out of the car, a stale aftertaste lingering on the buds of my tongue.
The last time I saw you, I wonder if you knew it too - the impression you left; the lies I unraveled; the sour remnants of a man consumed in his own web, unable to think of anyone other than the person staring back at him in the rear view mirror.