She sits at the end of the bar, or rather the corner right before the end. It's an important distinction, as the man at the end of the bar is like a piece of flypaper, waiting for the women to get drunker and slide into his stickiness.
But she is cheerful, not really planning on being lured by the trap swaying at the end. She has her hands full, juggling a beer and her cell phone. She periodically puts the beer down so that she can send more text messages. It is this action that hinders the drinking process, though with each message received, the alcohol hits a little harder.
In the other room, the band wails away on tunes you love and you don't know when you'll hear them again. There is talk of a break, a hiatus, and the future is uncertain. Then again, when has it ever been anything else? So you avoid the crowd that you believe is capable of trampling you to death -unnoticed and with much vigor - and sit at the bar.
As she texts (a word you find you use as a verb far more often than you're comfortable with), she shares the content of her messages with you. You aren't surprised to find they revolve around a man. A man she wants, a man she's had, a man who is nonplussed by her appeals for second helpings. At one point, she tells you about a response he gave her to one of her entreaties for last minute sex. It was cold, it was unnecessarily cruel, and she told you to make certain you remembered the line.
You said you would, as you also promised to write a play about her.
"Write a play about me, about texting," she says. There's that verb again. She is clearly under the influence of too many messages. "Write about me and make sure you put in that line. That sums it up right there."
It is months later and you never got to her play. Worse, you find as you sit down to write that the line has also left your consciousness. And you don't know when that happened.
You feel as though you failed her. Someone who wanted you to write about her desperate search for someone to return the affection she gives. Not that you could give her what she needs, but to validate it...somehow...perhaps if you could write it...
But you can't. Not now.
She sits at the end of the bar. Past the bend. She is the flypaper, and each progressive drink makes her surface stickier and her reach even longer.
She texts. Of course. Though it's a different woman at a different bar, the want is almost exactly the same. Love. Affection. In copious, unconditional amounts. But there are negotiations. There are conditions.
There is almost a multitasking of her heart that she performs flawlessly. A gesture to the man she has been with, but is too young. An offer to a new one that could be now or never. The young one looks on, wondering when the shift happened. All the while, she texts. A date is set with the man on the other end of the phone, while nothing immediate happens in the bar. It doesn't need to. You've tried to wheel and deal for her, as you discover she'd be lousy in sales.
In sales, you shut up after your pitch and let the potential buyer decide. A quiet strategy of enticement. The longer you stay quiet, the better it sounds in their minds.
But she pitches early and often. Even after the sale. She will continue to sell and tap dance and TaDa when it is no longer necessary. If it were an actual sale, you'd be putting the money in her pocket for her as she tells the sucker they should buy immediately. Instead, you cover her mouth and tell her to shut up. Let you do the talking.
She licks your hand. You wipe it on her nose. This goes on. A text comes in. She shares it with you and you help her write the next line while she handles her incoming gestures and winks with ease.
And you are not above, you are not immune. You have your texts flooding in. You eagerly await the next. You refill your glass, thankful it is words across a screen rather than a face to face conversation. If it were, you'd have to have him see your red wine lips. Maroon crusted in the corners and smiling far too wide. You write and try to pour as much love into these tiny electronic words as you can. You want him to know. You want to make certain he understands. You love him.
Next to you, the flypaper sways a bit, luring in this one and that one. But in her heart, she is trying to pour as much love into these tiny electronic words and small gestures and wry smiles as she can. She wants to make certain they understand. She is love. She is ready.
As are you. It's time to go home and sleep it off.