A Lot Like You

“What I’m saying,” the man sitting one bar stool over was saying, “is that I’m a lot like you.”

We were both, it seemed, three or four drinks too many into an idle Tuesday night, hovering languorously between the nothing that was work and the nothing that was leisure.

The man who was a lot like me scooted his bar stool an inch or two closer.

“We both came here alone,” he said. I nodded. Couldn’t argue with that.

“We’ve both been eye-fucking the girl across the room for, hell, two or three hours,” he said.

There was a girl sitting across the room, a meter or so out of my direct line of sight, and I had been staring at her, off and on. She wasn’t that pretty. Her lips curled downward, drawing her mouth into a sort of parabola and evoking in me thoughts of seventh-grade math: y = -x^2. I thought of a cliff diver launching from her nose down into her v-neck shirt (cut low as if to say: eyes detour here!). How long does it take him to fall?

“We’re not so different, you and I.” The man who was a lot like me leaned in even closer. “That’s all I’m saying.”

To be honest, I wasn’t really listening; he’d been talking like this for hours. The noise of the bar was deafening and seemed synesthetically accentuated by the odor of stale beer. I’d been thinking of Tamar, and the bonfires we used to make by the lake near her house. Back when summers meant something.

“We’ve both squandered love,” he said drunk and hoarse, his whiskey breath so close and fetid that it drew beads of condensation on my cheek. I wanted to pull away, but found that I couldn’t.

“We both wear pants.”

“We both eat ice cream.”

“We both fear death.”

Before I knew it his lips were touching mine. At first, it seemed like an innocent, gentle kiss. But then his tongue started scraping the insides of my cheek, and then his whole mouth made his way inside mine, and then his whole head too, and finally the man who was a lot like me had disappeared entirely inside my body.

“Sucker!” I heard him chortling, drunkenly, as he made his way down, his voice echoing as if from within a cave.

I sighed and glanced around the bar. The girl with the cleavage had left. I paid the bill — his tab too, that asshole who was a lot like me — and walked home. What else could I do? He’d get bored in there anyway, sooner or later. I was one to know. He was a lot like me.

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