25
Feb
09

the worst idea

A couple hours ago, when we still had a table, her foot had bumped against mine while our significant others were goofing on Bobby Jindal’s speech from earlier in the week. We looked at each other in laughter, but something about the way she apologized made me hope she had initiated the contact on purpose. We’ve run with the same group for so long that we’d both be tone deaf to the regular signals that a person might use to gauge a potential partner’s interest.

Besides, which of us would know how to make a hook-up (Jesus, even thinking that term at my age makes me feel like a piece in Time magazine) happen anymore in the first place? We’ve each been with our respective partners long enough as to render us woefully out of practice at the art of wooing. Surely the rules out here have changed in the years while we were getting domesticated, right?

The break in the case comes long after our table, like all the others in this place, has been pushed toward the kitchen to make space for all these college kids to dance. The four of us came here together for after-dinner drinks, then stuck around even as the room got too young for us, and too loud for our conversation once a DJ showed up. Now we’re noteworthy in this bar for our burgeoning crows’-feet and graying hair,  surrounded by sweaty dancing hipsters whose t-shirts are clinging to their bodies here on the LES, while a sitter watches our kids across the river.

Like I said, it’s too loud to talk, but we catch each other’s attention again between the beats and she holds two fingers up to her lips in a smoking pantomime and motions towards the bathroom.  I catch up to her just in time for the bathroom door to open, letting out a moist-eyed kid in big glasses wiping his nose. Once inside the tiny tile quarters, I’m surprised at how badly I stammer:

“I should have gotten some matches from the bar.”

“It’s okay, I don’t have any cigarettes anyway. It’s just too dark out there for clear thought, and I hoped that once we got into some brighter light we’d realize what a terrible idea this would be.”

I resign myself to the fact that she’s right. “I’m glad you feel that way too.”

There’s a hug afterwards, and it’s the hug of people who care too much about each other to let themselves fuck up their lives the way we’re tempted to. I place a little kiss on the place where her hair is parted approximately, and we exit the bathroom one minute apart from each other, so as not to raise suspicion.

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