Outside the Doors

by HelluvaGirl

Do you notice how men stand in queue to talk to you? They come up one after another.

No, there aren’t that many.

Of course, there’s an old lover who’s always there. But he talks to all of them, every night. He then takes them home to make seafood and have rooftop biancos and even my girlfriends who say they said no wake up with their bras on the floor. He’s a very pleasant guy, that one. Very hospitable.

So he doesn’t count. I don’t associate myself with those circles any more where everyone’s seen each other naked. It is sad and hopeless because those people grow old inertly looking for the best things in the worst places, and they’re doomed from the start.

We all want love. And to feel important. And to think we belong to someone, sometimes. But those things are not fast food and not a pill at your instant avail.

So I just watch and smile. My game’s no game.

Then there is an architect who’s in love with me for quite some time, they say. He’s always at the Bar. For a couple of years now he’s been inviting me to his study for a coffee, and last night I asked him why he didn’t just take my phone number and simply call instead of talking #someday every single time we met.

He is one of a kind: he speaks in vers libre non-stop. Quotes, verse… I don’t understand a thing and… yes, smile. Never try to follow the trail of his thought, if there is one at all. I think he is in a complicated relationship with reality. I treat the crazy ones gently, though – I am myself, after all, well aware of the place the normal meets the other side.

And then, as I press my lips to the champagne glass, I meet someone’s eyes. They’re wide with guessing and a mix of surprise and despair, the way a woman looks at the man she came here for and at another woman next to him, trying to see if it’s too late, or how hard will she have to fight. Those inquiring eyes, above the politely smiling lips, are a demanding duo: she will try to be noticed, she will do what it takes to win. However, the needling truth we both see: she can take him home but she still may just be second best.

And I invite her and introduce myself, and I am the nicest I can be. I compliment her stockings and attentively listen to whatever she has to say.

We are the same beggars: of all people, I know what it’s like to stretch your heart out the way they stretch out their hand. It’s all you’ve got – will it be enough for them? Will they take it? Will they choose you with their entire resolution and let everybody see you are the one? I know, my dear: the hand gets cold. I don’t believe in fighting but I will let you win. I’ll let you think you did.

So I excuse myself and return to observing. Someone wants my phone number. Somebody else wants to share their life story. Lover puts up a show, kneeling to kiss my hand. Just don’t propose, I smirk.

I leave to a place where we give in to absinth spells. It takes some spirits to dance as if nobody’s watching. But when I do, women start coming up, saying I am beautiful.

Someone gives his business card. Someone else steers away from his girlfriend to pay a compliment.

Lover tries to make a point in the noise.

My girlfriend is hungry and we leave, and man, as much as I love attention, there’s no relief like hearing the doors lock from the inside.