Sleeping Pills and Don Julio

She left.

I figured it would happen eventually and like everything else in this world I assumed it had to do with me. But just because I’m self-absorbed doesn’t mean I’m wrong. I revealed fears of creative and sexual inadequacy as a means of intimacy. Any normal person would’ve been appalled by my unpalatable confessions – I should’ve considered that when meeting her. Plus, who the hell orders tea at a bar on Sunday afternoon?

“Anything else?” the bartender asked.

I truthfully had no intention of drinking. Alcohol depresses me and sends me into a haze. The girl’s scarf disappeared from my periphery and I slapped the counter.

“Don Julio,” I announced.

“Just one?” she nodded to the empty stool next to me.

“YES!”

“Okay…”

I finished before she could cut the lime.

“Whoa there…” the bartender laughed.

“I’ll have another.”

She hesitated.

“Did something happen?”

“What on Earth do you mean?”

Her co-worker eavesdropped on our conversation. I shrugged.

“The girl I was with… she left.”

“Bullshit,” she smirked.

Jokes aside, I empathized with her disbelief. We were kissing less than fifteen minutes prior and openly discussed her spending the night. She even teased me for hugging like one of her first graders.

“It’s true.”

“How long were y’all together?”

I winced – why did everyone use time as a measure for sympathy?

“Six months,” I exaggerated by a factor of ten.

She placed her hand on mine, ignoring the crowd. I pictured us at a dive down the street, talking about what happened. She poured us each another shot.

“This one’s on me,” she licked salt from her thumb.

We downed the liquor and a customer called her away.

“Don’t leave,” she called from the other side of the bar.

But what was I going to do? Sit there like some jackass waiting for her shift to end? And what if by some miracle the girl decided to come back?

“I’ll close my tab,” I waived to the co-worker.

“You leaving?” he said, surprised.

“Yeah.”

I took one more shot and noted the bill – she hadn’t charged me for anything. I watched her mix a pair of Manhattans and second guessed myself for not sticking around. I paid my tab in full and scribbled my number on the check.

I contemplated stopping at a liquor store, but I’d spent too many afternoons back in the day slurring before sundown. I hopped in a cab and called some guy I knew.

“Yo Kid!” he shouted, still at the brunch I skipped.

“Hey.”

“Everything good?”

“I just had some crazy shit happen.”

“Oh yeah?” he didn’t hear me. “Come meet us. I was just telling everyone about last night.”

Last night. How could I forget? Some girl vomited on me because she took the wrong meds.

“On my way,” I lied.

I hung up and gave the driver my address, nauseous from traffic. Time Square traffic invited self-loathing. I replayed the girl running out on me.

“Hey…” I started typing.

But what was there to say? She left me at a bar mid-sentence. I closed my eyes until we made it to my building.

“How you doing?” my doorman asked.

“Fine,” I waited for the elevator, feeling woozy.

“Any girls tonight?”

“Nah.”

“Come on, man. You’re young!”

I feigned a smile and the elevator closed. I unlocked my apartment and fell on the bed. I popped a pill and my phone vibrated.

“I told you not to leave,” she said.

I rubbed my eyes.

“Sorry,” I wrote. “I wasn’t feeling it.”

“Who’s going to finish this tequila with me?”

I sighed.

“Bring it over,” I typed.

“What kind of girl do you think I am?”

“I was just dumped. I need emotional support.”

Ten minutes passed. I assumed I’d ruined my chances and turned on the game. She messaged me again.

“Meet me on Bleeker and we can talk.”

I looked down at my naked body. Moving sounded exhausting. The subway even more so. The girl’s accusations faded into darkness. I passed out before I could think of a clever response.

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