The Barkeep

Days are getting easier. I wasn’t sure they ever would, but I’ve retreated back into this cool darkness where the pain is duller albeit more widespread. It’s allowed me to exist without repeatedly alarming the people I care about. I can put the hurt into easier words and now I’m less afraid to read them back. Imagine an alcoholic turned bartender. He’s always a little solemn, but you chalk it up to him having seen too much heartache. You don’t necessarily realize that he’s always just slightly out of reach of sobriety, and that the darkness in his eyes isn’t just the shitty lighting.

I’m kind of like that, and I’m not trying to be proud of it. But if it makes this torturous life a little easier to crawl through, can’t you let me have it? Can’t you agree to just look the other way? Call me no good, but I’m so much better than I was.

It’s just the nights that I surrender to now. I spend almost every one of them alone, but I still talk to you like you’re lying next to me. I create apologies out of my own whispers and tell myself that you’re sorry. I still ache believing that, deep down, you wish you’d never left. I reach for your shoulders, for your hips. I hold my breath and try to resurrect those moments that never should have ended. Too many times to count, I’ve cried out your name and startled the dogs from their sleep. They miss you too, love. No one ever explained to them why you never came back. ….no one ever explained it to me either.

It’s a small world to live in, and eventually, we’ll have to face this. Eventually, you’ll catch a glimpse of the mask that your memory has painted onto me. Our eyes are going to meet and you’re going to wonder what happened to the spark, to the desire, to the very thing that drew you to me from the start. It’s inevitable. I just hope it happens in the daylight.

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