Thursday, March 12, 2009

off our chest

People walk into the bar with secrets choking at their throat. They sit down and order a drink —a pint of beer or a rocks glass filled with whiskey— and they let their eyes wander and breath in the air from the bar. The pleasant must of drunken conversation and old wood circulating in a familiar song. They take a sip and let the alcohol wince through their body. Then they set their glass down and lower their brow and search for eye contact across the bar.

They find it and they nod to whomever it is they know and they raise their glasses and take another sip, keeping eye contact for good luck. Then they exchange pleasantries, the grind of their job, the trials at home, the minor celebrations, the headache of it all. And they then lean in and say in a lower volume —in a register that signals privacy and discretion— a hint to just what it is that they are hiding. A remark loaded with a wink and a nudge. A phrase that begs for further explanation.

And they always get a bite.

They then move over to a closer stool, with the secret boiling inside of them, almost about to spill out, and they place their elbow as close as they can to the person, the eye contact, the bite, that they’ve involved themselves with, and lean in cautiously —almost as if they are having second thoughts— and lay it on them.

Their secret, their hidden truth, the poison inside of us. They let it crash out in hisses and whispers, letting the clink of cocktail glasses and the drone of old school r&b drown out the juicy thrill of our own personal dirt and shame. And to the most satisfying reaction of gasp and sighs. A genuine reception of awe and jealousy. The delicious taste of intimate information is too tempting for most. We get fat on it.

Then, after a few more drinks under the glow of silent adoration, they begin to make their exit. With cheeks flush and dimples dented in. Or smirks folding at their cheek and a modest swagger as they grab their coat. They tip the bartender a little extra if they can (but these days they usually cant), and feel relieved with themselves as they shuffle towards the door. As they open it they wave one last good-bye, but no one really notices, and they stumble on out into the cold of freedom.


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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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