Old Men Alone At Bars.

The thing with having the lastima disease is that you never know when you’ll have a really big outbreak. Like when you’re compelled to hang out with a 70 year old man at a karaoke bar while your friends talk to carefree boys and men in sexy jeans and hot dudes with arm tattoos. No, not me. I’m not flirting with the eye candy, I’m listening to Doug (let’s call him that because that’s his name.) He tells me about his past and his loneliness and I’m into it, I’m involved here. I try hanging on to the fun of the night, bopping my head to the music, throwing back a shot, but inside I’m already crumbling because I’ve decided I love Doug. I’ve decided that he needs somebody to love him. I’ve decided it’s important.

My girls groove and grind without me, and Doug watches, grinning. He likes that they’re busting a move to “You Shook Me All Night Long” and downing pitchers of beer and being fresh and bold. He wants to be young again. He wants to belong again. And why can’t he be part of our clan tonight, why shouldn’t he make new friends? I am your friend, Doug.

I take a deep breath, I’m feeling disconnected. Maybe lastima is too deep and feely for a seedy dive bar. Maybe it makes me a sucker. “It Must Have Been Love” booms from the speakers, and I agree to slow-dance with Doug. Maybe this crossed a boundary (what boundaries?) Maybe he shouldn’t have put his hand on my waist. Maybe he smelled like a giant Virginia Slim, and maybe he did really leer and hover. But he was an old guy sitting alone on a bar stool, looking for hope and a single thumbs up. So I put my arms around his neck, and trust that even if I look like a fool (and it was confirmed later that I did), it would be worth our time to sway.

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p.s. Don’t worry, he knows I took this pic.

p.p.s. Doesn’t it look like we might be a couple now?