Bartenders were pouring drinks into glasses, releasing a strong miasma of liquor into the air. Behind them, a mirror covered the wall. Coming from the booths, chatter and laughter danced along brick walls.
I looked around for Jay. He was nowhere in sight, so I took a seat at the bar.
“He’s in the other room, talking with Oliver,” one of the bartenders said. “What’ll be?”
“The same as my cousin.”
He put a bottle of Corona on the bar. I took a long sip.
A few moments later Jay came out through a double door. His tie was undone and his white shirt, all plastered around his body, had its sleeves rolled up to the elbows. His face was swollen, and a rugged beard went all the way up from his Adam’s apple to his cheekbones, close to his eyes. It was as if he were trying to choke himself to death with his own facial hair. We shook hands.
He walks into the waiting room, sees all the other patients eagerly waiting to be called into the doctor’s office. They all nod in that peculiar manner; they are here because of necessity, rather than choice. He sits on the only available chair and takes out his cell phone. It’s so warm inside that he has to struggle not to yawn.
All he was aware of was her. He was aware of her face, of the dress she wore, the distance between them. In this gap, in all the words that he had yet to say to her, was the promise of a great life. His heart was beating slowly but hard. He had never felt so sure of himself, so bewildered by the ease of what he was about to do.
A friend once asked him, “How does she make you feel?”
“She reminds me of winter,” he said.
“You hate winter. You hate the cold,” this friend replied.
There’s this mostly unknown writer who is found in a cafe with a former lover of his. From the way he talks, he seems to be made of words and sadness and little else. A suffering face, clothes a bit out of style. Legs crossed. He listens to her talk about what was what while she was no longer his.