Tired and punchy due to a hangover I immediately regret having inflicted upon myself, not only because it’s a weekday but also because I have to sit through some hellish kind of corporate training during which the instructor is cracking jokes no one finds amusing except for him, I sip stale coffee and wait out the worst of it. The trouble isn’t me of course, it’s you. It’s you and it’s the rest of the world which sucks me in and weakens me until I am reduced to less than half of myself and thus reach for anything that will numb what can only be described as thinly veiled panic at the idea that there really is no way out of this absurdity aside from death. And yet. You are a drug that gets me high, you are the opposite of numbness. When you touch me anywhere I feel it everywhere. When you kiss me with that defiant mouth we spin in circles until each molecule floods with dark sensation. The rain was heavy last night as we walked the cobblestone streets of an old forgotten town by the river and as I am telling you some story about being a kid collecting lightning bugs in jam jars, I notice the way the street lights bend their necks down somberly as they shine dim yellow light into the wet depths of the pavement. The whiskey begins to burn in my stomach and I briefly wonder what I am doing here fucking off while the rest of my life is so heavy, but being with you feels like all the weight has been lifted from me and tossed carelessly out across the water. Some people are freedom and some are an escape and the problem is I can never seem to tell the difference when I get too close. Ducking inside the crooked foyer of the restaurant, we sit ourselves at the fine mahogany bar and I take in the strange atmosphere. The building is nearly four hundred years old and absolutely plush with crushed red velvet, cigarette smoke, and ghosts. There is something sultry yet sad here in this dark hideaway place, as if the people are sinking along with the uneven floorboards, as if they know their lives are meaningless but they smile anyway. Despite it? Because of it? Doesn’t matter. I haven’t smiled in so long it almost feels like defiance. The overly polished wood and the piano player tucked into his shadowy corner, the warm hushed sounds of people dining, glasses clinking, candles, laughter, song. Naughty secrets whispered into lovers ears as they blush. Crossing their hearts as they uncross their legs. There is a woman in a black evening gown cut so low I can see the perfect curves of her ample breasts rise and fall as she breathes a Sinatra song into a microphone while leaning her sparkly hip against the piano. The eyes of the crowd seem to stroke her and she laps it up like warm milk, they pet her like a cat as she sways, slithers and purrs. We order Manhattans with rye and walnut bitters, the drinks far more sophisticated than the things I imagine doing to you in my filthy mind as we sip them.