(found under a half-drunk bottle of Fulton)
I saw her again.
I don’t know, I was out at the bar on 7th and Nicollet, and I saw her.
I don’t know what happened first. I saw her, and this hush muffled all the noise around me. The clinking glass and silverware, the talking and the screaming, the music all shut up beneath a suddenly collapsed ceiling of cotton balls.
I was already dizzy when I walked up to her. I gagged on the first words I was trying to say, but I did finally get the sentence out.
“Hello,” I said. “How are you?”
She said nothing.
“Listen, let’s get a drink,” I said, picking up steam. “Just a drink. We can talk, like that last time. Let’s just get a drink and talk like that last time.”
She still said nothing.
“I know how it ended,” I said. “But come on, just a drink, like old times, like last time. Let me buy you a quick drink, and we can just sit down.”
But she still said nothing.
I mean, she wouldn’t even move, and the way she sat there – stony, smooth and silent – the way she sat there just made it feel like candlewax had been dripped into my ears and had gummed up the works. Everything went away, no longer muffled, but just dead.
I could see so much happening, so much noise around me – and I had to because I just couldn’t stand to keep my eyes on just her any more. Those sounds, once vibrant, once muffled were now shut off.
In that sort of silence the only thing left for the brain to do is hear its own thoughts echo around an empty skull. That reverberation grows and grows, starting as the mutters of a cooing puppy and then rising up to the snarls of an attack dog. That reverberation slams itself against clogged eardrums, hoping to smash a way out, but finding no exit. I felt my eyes flutter and my knees weaken as that reverberation filled every nook and every cranny of my mind.
And then she touched me, lightly and on the arm.
“Just a drink,” I said, the melted candlewax dripping from my earlobe. “Just a drink.”
At this she stood up from the bar, and she finally spoke.
She nodded her head, now flushed deep red.
She whispered it.
“Last time isn’t coming back.”
She went through the door.
Then she left me there, in absolute silence.
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