He once told me, in a voice full of hatred and contempt, that there was nobody to love. Tonight he paraphrased the sentiment with the same fluency.
I acknowledged it with the brevity of a nod. The world had never been about the well-intentioned and their eventual triumph over adversity. All in all, I had found it unforgiving only to be interrupted by intermittent kernels of kindness. What I had to say would have been an assault on his conscience and that of decent peoples. We both knew that I was the boy that had proved him wrong.
I gave the bartender my card and ordered two tequila shots.
“Here drink this.”
I could feel my periphery next to his for a moment. The surface felt familiar and we distanced away.
“Let’s sit down, it’s too loud here.”
I knew the insecurity that came with singledom. It did not constantly pervade you, but old lovers did remind you of your solitude. He was the one that returned and my heart was not ready, although it was now much easier. Staring at him was like admiring a portrait, both the documentation and expression of the excesses of a wretched life borne out of degenerate passion wearing away before your eyes. It was the relentless and hilarious pursuit of love and I am confronting it in its entirety. We shared stories and memories stored away that only he and I could access, and I gravitated towards it by the temptation of finding truth. They were slowly blurring away, but to revisit them tonight, would be to reinvent them.
The person I had fallen in love with at the beginning of my adult years had become a caricature. Instead of being a comprehensive person I had superbly imagined, this was an image devoid of any complexity and character. The conversation we had had become theatre.
We sat together and observed the dance floor. I told him that he should not be so insecure and that he was a beautiful person. He told me that was because I was biased and leaned in. In my intoxicated state I was graced by instances of clarity.
The silence was my cue to leave. I placed myself in the middle of the dance floor, the alcohol blanketed me from his gaze. Among the people and lights, my boyfriend found me.
When I looked back, he was gone.