To The Boy I Met At The Bar

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Linh Nguyen

We were not love at first sight. We were not the story of a distant gaze that met one and approached the other with witty remarks. Our beginning was not mysterious or enchanting or any fabricated scene people make of first encounters.

We were awkward, run on sentences that never began or ended in sync. We were constant interruptions and apologies where neither of us could finish what we wanted to say. We made no sense on the said level of speech, but I think our unspoken thoughts were on the same wavelength.

The first thought we shared must have been sheer disbelief. Is he/she actually talking to me? Me? We both manifested some sort of internal doubt that the other was in another league. When it dawned upon us that the interaction was in fact happening, we couldn’t contain our excitement. We each smiled a little too hard and became cautious of the words that left our mouth. We tried to impress the other. You offered to pay and I told you there was no need. You reassured me but I insisted otherwise and we repeated this cycle until someone behind us hollered and pushed, and we both in stubbornness left bills.

We paid twice what we owed and left behind a hefty tip. We took our drinks and walked in circles. Again you tried to lead but there were no open seats until we both spotted an empty corner and simultaneously collided when walking forward.

At this point, we both expressed our shared amusement and laughed. Why does this keep happening? I say. Nerves probably, you reply. You smile and gesture for me to go sit first. Why don’t we start over, you say, I think we started off wrong. You place your hand out in front and offer me a handshake. You reintroduce yourself in a performed fashion I’ve heard before and throw in some pickup line for laughs. I decide to give in and go along with your new game, accepting your handshake. This time, I introduce myself with an extra emphasis on the correct pronunciation of my name. Oh fuck, I even got your name wrong the first time. I reassure you it’s a common mistake many people make. Just off my game, you tell me. I don’t think you were ever on it, I retort. We both begin to laugh and proceed to decipher the beginning that was our encounter. I point out your failed jokes and you make reference to my inability to pronounce things correctly. But I can write! I say in defeat. You laugh once again and lean a little forward. You ask what I write about. Depends, mostly people I meet. You ask me if I’ll write about you. I tell you I’m not sure.

I’m never certain in the moment, I never know what the point or lesson is from a particular encounter till much after. It’s why I have a lot of unfinished stories. I just never know when to begin or end, I never know what the right details are or how much. Honestly, I just hate theme. Like why can’t readers just decide for themselves? Isn’t that bad writing when I write explicitly what the point is? Why does everything have a point? Life isn’t an English class, it’s more about… And suddenly you interrupt my rambling with a kiss. Before I can rationalize your forwardness, you pull away. So what were you saying? Something about English class? I look at you and smile in dismay. You grab your drink and take another sip. Something about life isn’t an English class, it’s… moments. I interject and finish my initial remark. You look at me amused and pleased. I continue with my ramble and this time you do not stop me.

What I said to you was this. Life isn’t summarized morals and themes. Stories have no fucking point. We come across people for no matter other than to capture specific moments and to see the beauty of human interaction and of plot lines colliding; the why the story is individually decided, because we all see different themes.

So what’s the point of this? You ask me. I shake my head and tell you, I don’t know, it depends. Depends on what we decide to make of it. You nod your head, accepting my words and look at me to finish my point. Nothing has to be decided now though, I say and lean forward and match your boldness from before with a kiss. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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