One night in May

It was all red and black and smokey, that night, like a film dated by the sun or wine. But I don’t know, I don’t remember.  I drank too much scotch, and I leaned into the counter, drummed my fingers on the bar, and looked at the barkeep with two heavily shadowed brown eyes.

And I believe I ordered a scotch and soda with a twist. I believe at one point in the evening, I discussed that a scotch and soda with a twist is the drink a scotch drinker has when it’s warm out, and I must have wrapped my sweater tighter around my shoulder because it wasn’t warm outside and, in fact, it was cold enough.

And we talked about the rise and fall of the American novel, about meta-fiction, about the uselessness of an MFA and even the relative uselessness of a PhD, to which we all laughed and laughed and some of us drank and drank.

Some of us felt forlorn. Some of us felt saved. I felt drunk, and lost my balance. Someone picked me up, and my scotch and soda with a twist, and walked me out of the Richardson. Someone else paid my tab.

That was the first time the PhD and I met, but not the last time we would drink scotch on a sad bar stool on a sad evening.

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