I had to see a friendly face. Nate’s always been there for me, when I needed a good boost. He lives only by the next city, and his apartment looks exactly like mine, but with his stuff…and lots of alcohol. I’m not a drinker, never was – WAS, until I met Nate. He’d always pass me these mixes he learned back at New York, and he’d make them hard. My whiskey was always neat, Vodka had to be pure, and Beer had to at least be Amber. He never held back.
Today, I expected to get drunk. This was Nate – a good friend, and a good Bartender. I told him my story, Miss 626, and the poem… The whole thing was a long howl for me. Edgar Allan Poe would have raised from the dead just to laugh at my misery, I swear. I murmured, grumbled, mumbled, fumbled, and cried on his table. I asked questions: rhetorical questions, obvious questions, tangible, intangible, hypothetical, and theoretical conundrums. I could have gone on, talking like some bad American Jane Eyre movie remake, but Nate had to refill my cup for the fourth time. The effects were amazing, I was swirling between each blink, my vision blurred and circulated like a kaleidoscope, strumming my voice like an old cord — sending my confession without a conscience. I had to ask what was in it.
“Water”, he said.
What-the-fudge??? I couldn’t believe it. The rule of thumb when coming to his place is you always leave Irish. Today was not one of those days. I felt ashamed at the tolerance level I had for this faucet water he served. The liquid had a nasty taste to it. But just like that, I knocked out.
Four hours later, he explained that I was dehydrated, and suffered from insomnia. I would have argued, but he reminded me that I’ve been staying up for three days already, preparing for that Grant, obsessively. He knew my situation better than anyone, and because of it, he had no patience for my whining. He told me frequently that I was always demanding for attention, as an Artist. He says that I needed an outlet beyond my Artwork. We’d go for drinks, but I think that’s when I started the habit of returning this his place every week. The alcohol put me to sleep easily. And it’s been three days since, and I’m still sober.
Nate only had one clock in his apartment, and that was my cell phone. He usually relied on his gut to tell him everything, and for some weird phenomenon, his gut was always right. This time, it told him he was late, and according to my phone, it was right. With a cracked iPhone, and a dead computer, he was removed from society…since last Tuesday. I was his only friend…outside of Facebook.
He was almost out the door, when I awoke, running late to work, and demanding that I try the new Duchess De Bourgogne lying on his counter. He’d offer a Jameson, but he says I needed to eat before I try anything hard again. To eat, really? As if Beer can feed a starving heart. I took a swig of that bottle, and for once I actually got to enjoy something different. Is this what wine tastes like? I thought to myself.
The door closed behind Nate about ten minutes before I took my sip, but he returned to conclude my visit early. He wanted to say a few words before he took the bus to work, and realized that staying over his place would compromise his new collection of Beer, thanks to my new ailing self. He didn’t trust me.
We didn’t really say much waiting at the bus stop, but right when the 90 arrived and opened it’s sliding door, he threw my Duchess in the trash, slapped my cheek, and told me “Call her already.”
He handed me my phone back (ironic that I didn’t even notice he had it at all), and left me alone, next to a dirty old bum, wearing the same gray shirt as me. He said his name was Arthur, and he had been waiting for the bus for six years. He started laughing, crying, and fell asleep, exactly where he was – snoring life away. Poor Arthur… I looked at his shirt, found the same logo on mine, and prayed he wasn’t some future-me, sent by Doc Brown. A Flux Capacitor couldn’t be far behind, right?
I checked my fingers, and her number was gone – ALL GONE! It had to be Nate. It had to. My tempered flared, and I was almost ready to slap him back for screwing with my digits. Call her back? With what number, Fathead!? I looked at future-me, and calmed myself down. I thought about walking back home, and not wait for the bus; but right when I turned away the snoring homeless guy, my pocket vibrated. I checked my phone, and I noticed I had one missed call. It was Eve.