“You wanna go?”
“Yeah.” It was getting late. Half past midnight, which for me is late on a Saturday night these days. I’d had enough of the bars, enough of the beer, enough of the locals and enough trying to get around things.
“She’s coming back to the house.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said.
“I’m just letting you know.”
“It’s your house, man. When do I ever give a shit about that?”
“Well, you know...” he started.
I held up a hand and stopped him cold. “Dude, I don’t give a fuck. All night I’m telling you I don’t give a fuck. I told you fifteen times already, I’m just happy bein’ out of the house.”
See, when you’re divorced with a couple of kids, you gravitate toward other people who are divorced with a couple of kids. And when you’re a guy and she’s a girl, you find a night when you both don’t have your kids, and, well, you take care of your needs. This was one of those nights, and our girl friend, Divorced Girl, was one of those girls.
My guy friend, Divorced Guy, has been divorced for a year and a half. This is what he does. This is what they do. It’s a repeating loop. Sometimes I’m the third wheel.
We’re older now, and we’re starting to take some hits.
We walked home. All three of us. Together. I walked in the house, poured myself a glass of wine – it was all Divorced Guy had on hand – sat on the couch and turned on the TV.
“Are you okay?” asked Divorced Girl.
“Yeah,” I replied. “I’m fine.”
“Really? Listen, if you want to talk or anything...”
“Look, I really appreciate it, but I’m all talked out. I’m fine. Honest. You guys do whatever you want. I’m just gonna sit here on the couch, drink wine, watch Star Trek and spin my phone around on the coffee table.”
“Oh, you poor thing,” she said. “If you need anything...”
“Stop with the ‘poor thing’ shit already,” I interrupted. “Have I been a fucking sad sack all night? Have I been a drain on anyone’s evening?”
“Of course not.”
“I was good tonight, wasn’t I?” I asked. “I didn’t do anything stupid.”
“Yeah, you were great. You’ve never not been great.”
“That was all I needed for tonight. I’m done. Go have fun. I’m fine right here.”
I poured more wine into a glass with a stem and brought it back into the TV room. I set it on the coffee table, on a coaster. I don’t know why I need to put glasses with stems on coasters, but it seems like the right thing to do, like even though the wine is at room temperature, it’s suddenly going to cool down, form condensation on the stem and leave a ring mark on the veneer. I’ve never seen a wine glass do this, but I always use a coaster.
Maybe it seems to ease the landing a bit.
I put a throw pillow on the coffee table’s glass top and set my feet on it as gently as I could. I tucked my phone under my crotch so I could feel it if it vibrated. I heard laughter coming from the basement.
Then I fell asleep. I don’t remember my dream, but I woke up knowing around wasn't good enough anymore. The only way out is through.