Torches, Flames, and Other Old, Hot Things

I sip red wine and watch the boy play the drums. He’s not a boy, okay, but he used to be. I had a crush on him when I was 18 and he was in his 20’s. He dated my friend, not me. And now he still plays the drums in this band and has a degree in art, so he says, and silkscreens for a living. He has called me, and asked me on dates, but I don’t really respond.

I say hi when I see him. He’s still cute.

Anyway, the red wine makes me feel warm. I stare outside. I wish I still liked him. What changed? Why do I want something different than the drummer now?

I fidget. Maybe everything I think I want is wrong. Maybe it isn’t the equal, the the unfailing, exhaustive New York neuroses. Maybe it should be the artist. Maybe I just need to come home be calm, be still, be happy. Maybe I’ve spent all this time looking for everything I am, rather than everything I need.

And who knows what I need? I’m too close to see anything without my eyes crossing. I wish I could take three steps back. I wish I could force myself to. And then I wonder if I’d be happier. Maybe I would, but I suspect I’d somehow end up right here anyway, watching the drummer sneak glances at me, hitting the highhat, nodding his head, carrying a torch in a rainstorm.


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