why i'm lonely

I. She worries that it is too soon to call. Is it too soon to call? Is there even such a thing anymore in these days when we all have our cell phones with us all the time? She decides that she will call him after she finishes her beer.

II. A pen and ink. Some paper. A written apology. She deserves nothing less. The words come quickly:

We both said some hurtful things tonight. I lost my temper. I'm sorry. But I have spent so much time in my life being something less than sincere, apologizing for telling the truth, and I am done with that. I could have phrased it more delicately, but I want you to know that there is no excuse for what you have done, and just as I cannot apologize for calling you out, I cannot forgive you for it.

I know I cannot send this letter. I know that I have to finish it.

III. She laughs at my jokes, sincerely. In a world of polite laughter she finds me genuinely funny. So much happened tonight, but at the Port Authority bus terminal late that night, as the haze of cheap wine fades and I wait for a 3 am bus home, I can still hear her laughter.

IV. She opens another beer and decides to start watching some French film on Netflix. After that, perhaps. There's always after that.

V. We are drunk together and kissing in the street--on the hoods of cars, in the abandoned park. I am ostensibly walking her home. "My boyfriend is out of town," she says, and I feel guilty that I don't feel guilty, and then feel guilty for declining her invitation to come inside.

VI. Another movie, another beer, and now it's fast approaching midnight. Nobody actually goes to bed before midnight anymore, but you can't call people that late. And now she's missed the window, she is certain, and she can never call him now.

VII. Am I depressed, or just afraid of everything? Does it matter?

VIII. We had a beautiful thing for a very short period of time, and then it faded like city snow. Now it is over, I try to convince myself that, like snow, this was meant for the country, to cover the hills of New England for months, until something green and beautiful and alive springs from under it. We could have made the rivers flood, if only the city hadn't been in our way.

IX. In order to become a patientsincere man, I have lost all patience. I will not be conciliatory when I should be fighting. I will not apologize when I should be demanding apology. I will not compromise my values to make someone else happy. Tonight I have no company but a bottle of dark beer and a movie on Netflix. This is what victory looks like now.

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