I walk into the Chinese bar that I have been going to since I was 18 ready to waste another useless night drinking. The friend I was supposed to meet fell asleep, but I didn't figure that out until after I had ordered a beer. It's a small, dimly lit bar that never has enough stools for the people that hang out there, and the main attraction is the bartender, an old Chinese guy named Bill. He's a good guy, and if you go there enough and he likes you, he'll get you loaded for under twenty bucks. Being as I've been going there since before I could vote, he's known me a long time.
The brother of a guy I used to be buddies with is next to me, talking to his girlfriend. We exchange the workingman's hello of, "What's up man?" and "Same shit bro."
Bill comes over, and with his hands in the air, says in his broken English, "Where your girlfriend? I not see her with you in long time."
"Nah... we broke up."
He looks disappointed. "Really? Why?"
"Just going different ways is all. Different lives, different paths."
This catches the attention of two girls who were sitting next to me. One is cute but looks like someone who smoked too much pot in high school, and the other one is fat but looks like she's trying. Bill is, as always, trying to get them hammered because...well, that's what he does to girls.
I explain a little more, but I don't particularly want to talk about it, and Bill is a good bartender and knows when to not ask questions (unlike so many others).
The cute girl looks over at me after my little monologue and sees right through it all. God, I fucking hate women.
"How long did you go out with her?" she asks.
She takes it in, looks down. "That's a long time."
" She wasn't the one, huh?"
I fucking hate women.
I manage a weak smile which probably comes out as more of a grimace. "No, I guess she wasn't." The night takes a dive and the room gets colder, but she says something that somehow comforts me, and even though I don't remember what it was, it makes me feel better. I turn back towards my beer.
I keep half an ear open to her conversation with her friend and with Bill, and hear her say she is moving to Boston in the morning. I smile and say something about the Red Sox, as is my habit when someone mentions my town. She's going up there to be nanny for some family or something, and even though I think it's a retarded reason to move two states away I pretend like it's interesting. Her and her friend are ogling over some guinea at the end of the bar who looks like he probably wears sunglasses at night, and I just shake my head.
Unfortunately, even though I am kind of interested in what this girl has to say, I don't feel like dealing with anything that has a vagina, so after a couple of remarks here and there over five minutes I pay my tab and get up to leave. I say my goodbyes to Bill, I'm sure I'll see him tomorrow anway. Before I leave I smile at the cute one, but it's a sad smile that I can't stop, and raise my hand off my hip in the classic, "Seeyou later" move.
"Good luck in Boston" I tell her.
She smiles. "Oh, thanks!"
A I'm walking out I hear her say a little too loudly, "He was soo sweet!"
I smile to myself because I know I one-upped the guinea that was "so hot."
Later, the bartender at Casey O'Tooles smiles at me and pushes my hand away when I go to pay her, saying, "Save it, hon." I get her number but never call her.
It's going to be a hard Christmas.