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I'll often stop and think about them (Part 2)

Immediately upon entering home, the anxious day began to melt away. She was so happy to be alone. The solitude was a relief. Unbearable chitchat and polite conversation aside, she took a deep breath and let it all go.

He, on the other hand, was on the prowl. He required a connection and might take any offered. But, no, that’s what got him in trouble in the first place. He would have a meal, a beer, and possibly call an old friend. Loneliness would not set in and waste the joy he felt in this moment.

She wandered the apartment, tidying and keeping it just so. Cozy and clean, she might take on a project or maybe just watch Netflix. There’s a documentary or two waiting in the queue. More than likely, she’d find something mindlessly emotional to distract herself. She couldn’t find her good socks and, even by the fire, her feet felt chilled.

He couldn’t think of what he wanted. Or, rather, he couldn’t have it. Everything was closed. It felt like so long since he’d been able to eat to his heart’s content. Had he eaten lunch? He remembered coffee in the form of a latte but that was so many hours ago. There’s got to be a place with more than bar food although a burger did sound fine.

She was on her second glass of red and the night was still young. She heard a song and felt inspired so she sat down, computer in lap. But, where to start? She usually enjoyed a less direct approach but she was running out of ideas. There are only so many metaphors and writing deserved better than that cheap exit. 

Thinking back, she recalled being all alone in a crowded room. She watched him intently but he was not aware. He was hard at work, if you can call it that: 

“As she tried her best to disappear into the background, he shined in the spotlight. There he was fully himself and fully his fantasy. Inside his fantasy, the better is always getting best. It was hard to take one’s eyes off of him. He was magnetic like that but also exhausting in a way. She tired just watching him.”

Now things were getting just too biographical for her comfort. She switched to pineapple and vodka and went ambling off to find just any pair of socks at this point. That’s how cold her feet had gotten.

He settled on a plate of fried, brown things as he was enticed by the photo in the menu and his sudden and angry hunger. It’s alright. He’d skip breakfast, he thought to himself. The exotic beer he’d chosen tasted terrible but how could he have known unless he gave it a try?

She gave up on that piece. Maybe she’d get back to it later but it was so late already and her eyes were blurry from the alcohol. She felt warm for the first time all day. Regret tried to lay hold of her for the billionth time that week but she was armed with her solitude and put up a firm resistance. Tomorrow, she’d find plenty to fret over. At the moment, she was feeling fine.

Across the street in a smoky bar they called a pub, for the sake of fanciness, he was beginning to lose his fantastical sense of triumph. Surrounded by admirers who approached every few minutes, some gushing and some timid, he was all alone. Alone is not the place where he thrives and, in his isolation, self-doubt took him to task.

She settled on something like a documentary but was really a tv show broken up into a season’s worth of episodes. This was a quick study on a complicated subject with lots of conjecture from so-called experts. Warm and drunken, she dozed off.

Meanwhile, he was beginning to unravel a tiny bit and, determined to go all in, drink stole his triumph after all.


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