The dimly lit interior beckoned approvingly. Soft music, soft light. At the bar, Berto was efficient as ever, gliding gracefully to every client’s wish. Berto’s night was Friday night.
I walk up with the familiar acknowledgement, as he simultaneously passes me a gin and lime. I sip, and slide into my seat.
Another lonely night. Another of those prolonged tortures of nothingness. I had left the cold emptiness of my room to enter this familiar yet foreign domain.
‘Singles’; Singles by name, single by nature. I had long stopped thinking of the connotations of being here. I had never really been bothered by it. I just came for the group alienation and my gin and lime, but not necessarily in that order. Week after week, I dragged my unattached self to this oblivion, only to haul myself back mostly untouched.
I look about me, adjusting my eyes to the shadowy darkness. He smiles—I smile back. His face seemed out of place. He had a kind of out of town look about him. Drink in hand, he saunters up to sit in the cold vacuum beside of me.
I pull out a smoke from my ever-diminishing pack and knowingly look at him.
He’s at the ready: no sooner is it out, it’s lit. His hand trembles, as he withdraws the light; a vulnerable look crosses his eyes. I smile with a soft thank you.
This could be a different night. He asks me what I am drinking. His face fades and it’s Mick looking at me lasciviously with that cold calculated smile I dared to trust, but failed so bitterly. Fade in, fade out. Soft Chris, a dream; until he drank too much. My hip throbs in dull remainder. I had barely crawled out of that one alive: emotionally bruised and then thoroughly battered. A tentative touch, I flinch; my eyes in focus again, as I smile apologetically.
We sit and sip in silence, each in our respective private worlds—yet aware of each other, as we now and again draw Berto’s attention for another and another. The night draws to a close, just when dawn rapidly sets in. We tell by the transition of faces in places. Still we watch our drinks go by.
Last call. I take a final gulp, grab a hold of his warm hand and coolly lead him out.
At home, I let us in. He locks the door behind him, confident now he knows the score. I walk to my slumber room, disrobing, leaving a hell-fire trial behind me. He needs no second command. We fall together onto the bed embracing in wild abandon, until we finally slip into noisy sleep.
It’s almost daybreak and my bed becomes a living vice. I look at him all a blur, as fear grips me. I wonder what it will be like to be dead and neither a sob cried for you nor a tear behind you. Perhaps today, I’ll know for sure; I had been close before. The bedposts creak with the strain from the rope; the bruise marks start to show. All the while, he looks at me, even incoherently, and there’s a far from impotent rage flooding his eyes.
The blade of the knife glistens with the shaft of early morning light. It whistles with rapid
My body resonates with
of the knife’s impact.
A strangled gurgle,
as a fatal blow penetrates my
In death, the sound of continuous frenzied thrusts are lost to my immobile. I’m dripping crimson—alongside the tear crawling down facial furrows to collect untidily nearby an open mouth.