The thud of the shot glass upon the decrepit bar is heard by all in the room. Eyes turn towards me, by this point nothing matters. I notice water rings upon it and what I’m sure are the stains of tears of triumph and tragedy. There aren’t too many patrons in this shit hole bar. This shit hole serves its purpose though. I walked here from the hospital. Walking works for me, when I get fucked up enough it will be an adventure.
“My god, I thought I would find you in here. Hoped to fuck I wouldn’t but here you are. Classy place you picked.” Aiyanas voice cuts through the thick of fog circling inside my head. I look over my shoulder half wanting it not to be her. I slip off of my stool slightly in the progress, saving myself against the bar. No, that wasn’t embarrassing.
“What the hell. How many of those have you had?” Aiyana does not sound concerned more like pissed off.
“Well ya know.” I deliberately attempt to talk like molasses as not to stumble over my words and/or slur in the slightest. “I been sitting here for the pasts hour trying to come up wit every justication I could to just shoot one back. I thought; well I have been sober now two years, lets celbrate.”
That didn’t feel right, really none of it did. So I realized I just needed one justification. The best one, just fucking drink. No excuses needed. I don’t even give a fuck what person I am tonight or the demon I wake up with tomorrow. Aiyana has blossomed into crimson hostility.
“That is such bullshit! You care about not being weak, not being controlled, being all fucking strong.”
Its never a good idea to yell at a drunk with a mood that can change faster than a thought or a whores underwear on a busy night. Now I’m getting pretty irritated. “You know Aiyana, I’m perfectly fhine, fhine enough to know that you’rrre killing my buzz and I would be much happier, if you just went home and left me alone.
“What the fuck is this really fucking about?” Aiyana’s tone is coated with a hint of sarcastic disdain.
“Well I’m glad you asked that. Could we please talk outside?” Now I am n ear the closest edge to descending into a fuck ass mood. ”
“Try not to stumble too much.”Now Aiyana is just being a total bitch.
I stumble removing my numbed ass from the bar stool. I catch myself again. Guess Aiyana called that one. Its still light outside. The sun burns itself through my light eyes. I turn my body into the cool shade just outside the door of the bar.
“Ok Aiyana, shoot. Ask whatever the hell you want to. Just gonna warn you that I’m feeling brave right now and what might come out may be the truth.”
“Good Burgess, that’s kinda what I was hoping for. So, I’ve noticed this kind of closeness between you and Dee. Its been making me uncomfortable. Fuck, have you guys been hooking up? Friends with ‘benefits’?”
As she asks me the friend thing she does air quotes. God, annoying.
“Well?” Now the look on her face is worried.
“Aiyana do you even realize what you have just asked? Something tragic has just fucking happened and you come at me with the most selfish question. She’s fucking laying in a cold ass fucking hospital bed and God knows what’s going to happen. Does any of that even matter now god damn it! This is not about you!”
“No, its obviously all about you. That’s apparent. Would you like another?” She has a point.
“Fuck you Aiyana!”
“Wow, spoken like a true drunk there Burgess.”
“Ok, what, what, what? What the fuck do you want from me?” I am quite angry now and not sure what it is I am exactly mad at. Is it really Aiyana? No, its me. Aiyana gently places her hand upon my shoulder.
“Burgess, I’m in love with you.”
“Aiyana, god, Aiyana you shouldn’t have said that” Now I’m starting to get nauseated. The back of my throat starts to feel it.
“Why? Why not? You are fucking her!”
“God damn it! no, we are not fucking!”
Aiyana raises her right hand to her chest like the breath has been taken from her. “My god, you love her?”
“Aiyana I just said we are not fucking. Wait, what?”
“Burgess, ok, you’re not fucking. But fucking and being in love with someone are two very different things. God look at you. Look at everything that you have just thrown to hell. Burgess, she didn’t even die.”
“And death and suffering are two very different things Aiyana. She lays up there, who knows if she makes it, what kind of person or life she will have if she does make it through. Death can be welcomed, suffering usually isn’t. I cant stand the thought of her suffering.”
Aiyana begins to sob. I see her hands begin to shake and her voice cracks.
“You know where I am when you sober up and you can decide what it is that you want.”
I watch Aiyana walk away. Care is a far away concept for the moment. At once I grab for the brick wall. I throw up every ounce of dignity and hopefully every last drop of the tequila that lay heavy in my gut. A drunken epiphany comes upon me as I lower my wasted ass onto the cement ground. Sweat trickling down the back of my neck. I whisper my indignation to myself.
“That’s it, that’s my justification. Suffering, I cant let her suffer alone. I have always been the master at orchestrating my own suffering. What the hell would she think of me right now? You pathetic piece of shit.”
The tears feel more real than they ever have before.