written, edited, and produced by Viktor Devonne for 2 Night Stay
recorded by Matt Storm
performed by Faux Pas le Fae
“You’re going to drive me to drink,” she laughs. they clink glasses.
They’ve actually been sitting in this bar for about 2 1/2 hours. Between them, they’ve lost count on cocktails they may have ordered; but she knows she started with wine and somehow she’s moved onto whiskey.
He’s a traveler. Salesman? She’s not entirely sure what he does for a living; somehow they just skirted the issue entirely this whole time, but she knows she’s told him an awful lot about her.
She said everything about her trip to San Diego, how her mother found that uranium in the backyard, and brought up her great uncle and how he used to raise cocker spaniels in Wilmington.
She’s not used to flirting anymore. She was an expert once; it was all she knew how to do for a while. But she thought after weeks of quiet loneliness that she would give it a try tonight and, boy, did she luck out.
He’s got dark brown hair. It reminds her of fur; it’s dense and like a deer’s hide. His face reminds of her of that actor she can never remember the name of because he’s never listed in the first six credits. But she’s seen his smile, a little crooked on the left; knowing too much. He’s been taking bets all night, and she’s let him win every time. But he’s a gentleman; she knows he’s letting her think she’s ahead.
The nose. Yeah, it doesn’t quite match the rest of the face. But it’s a good nose on someone else, so why not on him. He’s got strong shoulders; if he didn’t play sports in college, mores the pity. His eyes look through her and back again. She has to restart her sentences sometimes because she gets lost. He assures her it’s fine.
Her dress is too tight, she knows her mother would suggest, and she was regretting all the lavender sequins until he complimented her on it. She chose it over the poofy one. She didn’t want to look like Atlantic City had let her out for conjugal visit. The fishnets however, well, old habits die hard. Those were part of the uniform for fifteen years, and she had no intention to letting them go now, especially if she was going on her own now.
So far she’s avoided talking about her marriage. Somehow she managed to keep her wits among her to avoid that topic. She doesn’t want to seem eager, new to the game. Well, new again; back in play. But even having this verbal dance for hours now, she stopped wondering about 45 minutes ago what he sees in her.
He laughs when she needs him too; he has a follow up question every single time she thinks that they’ve gone silent too long.
The cigarette smoke wisps as it envelopes the breath between them. They started off further apart, but the chair swiveled, and she found herself even closer on those terrible bar stools with the back that just missed your flesh, with the slightest implication of support.
She hasn’t dare look at her watch where the clock over the bar; she just wants this Friday night to last as long as it possibly can. Well, at least this part of the night in this bar. She doesn’t know if he’s going to invite her up to his room or if she will invite him to hers. They haven’t made it that far yet. But she knows it’s coming; that awkward “when I see you again sometime,” or “you have a good night, unless you wanna come up for coffee.” They’re at a hotel. She doesn’t have coffee. But maybe in the morning, they can get some. There’s that cafe next to the lobby. They call it cafe but they only have coffee and doughnuts til 11am.
He’s laughed again at something she said; she has been comforted by the absence of self-consciousness this whole time. What is it about this man that puts her at ease. She swore years ago that she would ever let her guard down like this. But he’s nice. Attractive, but not intimidating. Those eyes; hazel or maybe green. no, she’s been looking long enough at them; she knows they’re hazel.
It looks like the dance is ending. she goes for her purse, and he puts his hand on her shoulder. She’s not sure why she didn’t wear a sweater tonight, but her bare shoulder shivers at the touch. He murmurs something about an early morning. She figures she’s going to bed alone again. Him, to sleep six hours before a conference or a convention or, wherever he’s in town for.
Wrong. He extends his arm towards her, ready to take her hand into his. An escort to the elevator? No, they take the stairs. Slowly. Drunkenly. She doesn’t know how much she’s had. Her eyes glance to the door she knows is hers for the next three days; but he hasn’t slowed down. They go up one more flight.
Must be after midnight. She doesn’t want to be shy. She wants to go for it; she wants to finally do what she promised on her 42nd birthday she would finally fucking do when she felt like it. And he seems so nice. Attractive, but not intimidating. And those eyes. What was that actor’s name?
As the door clicks open, she becomes a silhouette slowly wandering aimlessly into this darkened room, the corridor light providing only reference points, so she knows where not to stumble. The bedroom of the hotel is very similar to hers; she can figure out where the desk is, where the extra chair might be, and where the mattress is.
The window is open and the curtains allow for just enough moonlight to make her feel so beautiful. He closes the door behind him. She sits quietly, waiting for him to make his move. Her breath tightens. His hands tighten. She feels dizzy; something is wrong. He’s doing this wrong. Something is wrong. She wants to tell him but he has his hand over her mouth. He has to know this isn’t right.
The moonlight is dim. She can’t get up. It’s over so quickly, it must have taken hours. Birds are already gathering themselves into discordant snippets of sounds.
She is over them now. She looks at their figures. He’s crying over her, apologizing. He’s saying some girl’s name, but not hers. He’s apologizing to someone else over her body. She makes a note to remark on that failure in courtesy, but there are no more words to say.
For someone who made her feel so beautiful, he has reduced her to a monstrous shell. Sloppy. Maybe his first time. No, second or third. She observes the signs of ritual. That was her gold bracelet, and an earring that made it into that wooden box he had kept under the bed. They joined other trinkets. That necklace was pretty; it looked more expensive than hers. How many of them were once owned by someone 43 and divorced, on their first try out again. How many of those women looked at him and just couldn’t quite place that film almost-star. You kept imagining him talking to Kathleen Turner like that was a hint.
She’s alone again. Another man, her limp body in his arms, has left her alone again. He looks, skyward, either for judgement or for peace. His eyes look through her.
Those eyes. Maybe they aren’t as remarkable as she let herself believe. Dull, almost.