Insides on the Outside

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As one door closes an other opens

Last year I met a guy and we connected for a brief moment. It didn’t work out, however, we said that we’d stay in contact. I texted and called him several times and heard nothing. It hurt that he never replied, not once! Towards the end of 2016 an opportunity arose for me to move away from Sacramento to Los Angeles, which I took (Although recent work developments may change this move).

I could not help but wonder why I had never heard back from this guy. My emotional side conquered my reasoning; I picked up the phone and dialed his number. Certain he wouldn’t answer, I had a messaged prepared. The phone rang and rang and rang and rang, and with every ring, my heart felt a little heavy. It went to voicemail and I left him a message that went along the lines of “You mother fucker why haven’t you returned any of my calls…” Okay, not really. Instead I said something like: “Hi! I’m visiting family and I wanted to catch up with you. Since I haven’t heard from you, I will be at the bar where we first met last year after five. I don’t know if you will show up, but I will be there.”

So with that I made the choice to go to this bar and wait…and feel completely pathetic and revel in my patheticness for all to see. I was 97 % sure that he wouldn’t show up but that 3% error margin made me jump in my car and make the 30 minute drive. I showed up a little after five, ordered a beer, and walked to the back where we’d last hung out. I felt as if all eyes were on me even though not a single person knew why I was there. I sat on a bar stool that gave me a view of the entrance door, and pretended to look at my phone.

It wasn’t busy even though the playoff game between the Chiefs and the Steelers had just started. People slowly trickled into the bar and with every-single squeak of the wooden entrance door I would look up, hoping to see a tall, bearded guy. The door kept letting in customers, more guys kept passing by, but I quietly drank my stout. I sat there looking at the empty seat he once occupied, with folded arms and a smile I could not forget, looking over at me and not saying a word because he was waiting on me to say something.

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Staring at the empty stool made the loneliness palpable

My reminiscing was abruptly interrupted when an Asian guy asked me how I was doing. It caught me by surprise and all I could do was nod and smile until I was able to articulate a simple “Yes, I’m good.” The crowd cheered and for a second I thought it was because he had entered the damn building. But no, someone on the screen had scored or something. I wasn’t paying much attention to the game at this point and my glass was half empty.

More guys kept passing by: tall ones, short ones, round ones, white ones, black ones, brown ones. It all felt a little dizzying. Was the stout this strong or was hope and sadness impairing my state of being? I read the names and messages carved on the wooden bench that ran along the window that lead to the back patio and wondered if I should carve a message. A deep and thoughtful one about waiting at a bar for someone who never showed up.

I finished my stout and walked to my car. A bus stopped at the light and I looked at the driver wondering if it was the same one he had waved at a year ago as we crossed the street. I got in my car letting myself cry for a minute, and then pulled it together. As I drove home I was not angry or sad that he never made the movie entrance through the big wooden doors at the very last minute. The moment was not about him; I didn’t realize this then but I went to the to that exact same place to let go of whatever had kept me thinking of him for a year… and to drink a beer.

Moral of the story is…he’s a fucken asshole for not showing up! Or, if you want to get all pensive and shit, sometimes we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and expose our insides on the outsides.