Being in this bar is nothing new. Country music lightly flowing throughout the room, cigarette smoke lurking around us, the bitter taste of Dos XX on my tongue—this is all so familiar. Eyes upon me as I smile back at strangers, flirting with those who are confident enough to come up and talk to me; this is what I know. Friday nights have become a ritual. A ritual spent aimlessly flirting to score some free drinks in this prosaic bar. It always ends the same, too—the guy I’ve been flirting with all night asking me to come home with him, as I smile and tell him, “maybe next time.” But one night in this same bar with the same drink, I see you.
I’m sitting at the bar, casually glancing around, looking for any guy that catches my attention so that I can begin my usual antics. I pull all the same moves on you as I have to any previous guy, and it works but at the same time it doesn’t. You smile and flirt, yet I know that if I were to walk away right now you wouldn’t give a damn and that right there is what makes me stay. I’m honestly not even all that impressed by your looks, but something about you draws me in and leaves me wanting more. And at the end of the night, when I would usually leave back to the safety and comfort of my own bed, I find myself saying yes when you ask me to go back to your place.
I didn’t expect much the next day. I didn’t wait around for you to text me, asking if you could see me again. I was used to one-night stands. I liked them. I liked the no-strings-attached thing because I liked my freedom all too much. And when you texted me asking to go to dinner, I found myself excited to see you again. I made sure I wore casual clothes so that you knew this wasn’t a date. I didn’t want you to think I was looking for anything serious, and after hanging out a couple more times, I made that clear to you. With our entwined bodies in your bed a week later, you told me you could see more with me: a future, a relationship. And although I knew I didn’t see a future with you, I stayed because I selfishly couldn’t let you go. Not just yet, at least.
So after two months of our casual dating, fling, FWB, whatever you want to call it, I began to notice that we were getting a lot more serious than I intended. We tried to keep it casual and put on a nonchalant face like we didn’t care if the other went out or texted other people, but when the name of another was mentioned, I couldn’t help but feel sadness and jealousy. Imagining you with someone else would make my stomach drop.
And even after realizing that maybe I liked you a lot more than I let on, I still didn’t stop and think that maybe I should change my ways. So when I went out to a concert one night, I thought nothing of a guy buying me drinks and me giving him my number. I thought nothing of when he texted me to come over, and me saying yes. The only reason I didn’t go to his place that night was because my friend, my dearest, sweet, friend, shook me by the shoulders and slapped me out of it. I went over to your place that night and hugged you tighter than I ever had before, held you closer than ever before, kissed you harder than I had ever before. I couldn’t believe I had given in to my previous antics and almost ruined the beautiful thing we had created.
I knew when you saw those exchanged text messages that we were done. “I didn’t even do anything with him. We just talked,” I would say. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I was drunk,” I would say. I knew we were done even when you forgave me and we tried to move forward to forget about it. In those two months after that night where everything came crashing down, we tried so hard to start up again and forget. We tried to pick up where we left off before I had driven our beautiful relationship off a bridge. We laughed and mumbled sweet nothings to each other, yet the real silence lingering between the spaces felt so heavy to me. I knew we were never going to be whole again, yet I still again, could not let you go.
And after three months of us attempting to hold on to whatever we had, we grew tired and began to drift away from each other. We stopped seeing each other as often as we did and text messages began to come in slower, and slower. We both knew it was definitely done, but neither one us of wanted to put an end to what we had. We couldn’t fathom not having each other anymore.
So we tried to grab onto anything and tried to keep the relationship together by a thread, but pretty soon the burden of us became too heavy and that thread broke. It broke and I knew we were both too worn out to try to fix it, so we had to finally walk away from each other.
Now, almost a month later of us not speaking, I still think about you every single day. I still remember our inside jokes, the feeling of me wrapped in your arms, the sound of my name being spoken by your lips. I still think of all that and so much more and wonder—do you?