the line at brother juniper's this morning was obnoxious, naturally. i got my coffee and sat next to the late-20s girl w dirty blonde dreadlocks and the kind of narrow eyes that are underscored by creases that perpetuate a just-woke-up look at all times of the day. when her boyfriend w the russian accent walked in, she became, for a hot second, a smitten preteen. i thought it was cute, solely in the sense that her appearance belied her demeanor...but so what. i like that sort of thing. i also like dreadlocks on girls. if they weren't so permanent i'd have them, sometimes. as i waited, drinking my coffee and reading my book, i chastised myself for spending money on an outing i wouldn't enjoy all that much. brother juniper's food is good. other than that, i knew it would be overpriced and bright and loud and anxiety inducing. i should be inured to it by now, however, i just keep on being disappointed that this town is full of nowhere peaceful and dark to hang out.
i've thought of opening my own coffee house. it would always be dark. even in the daytime. maybe it would look like a tiny log cabin, or a library in a gothic castle. i'd do it if i had the money. if i had money, i could also afford to get away any time i please. that's what i'd do. i'd leave memphis whenever the walls started closing in. and then i'd come back when the novelty of wherever else began to wear off... bc eventually it would. everything is novel, you know. most people just choose to ignore that fact so they can go on w the trappings of daily life. i'd come back to memphis bc...see i can't bring myself to say this is my home...although just now, just this second, i realized it's the closest thing i've got.
last night i went out. i was supposed to meet a friend but didn't hurry to get there. as i walked into the bar, i was glad to see no one i knew, and i was dressed in black from head to toe and my boots had really high heels, and all those things combined—in a brief and completely nebulous way—somehow made me feel like the old me. i was anonymous and free and didn't give a damn about one person in that entire room. it felt good. it felt good when somebody's dad—who was giving me eyes that somebody's dad shouldn't—wormed his way next to me and kept looking, waiting for me to acknowledge him, but i didn't. i pretended i didn't notice him, even though his shoulder was touching mine. i had lost respect for him the minute i saw him nudge his friend, somebody else's dad. they had high-school age kids at home, i'm sure of it. they were out bc they're divorced...or they're married and want to play with fire (the idea of it, rather)...or they're married and wielding a matchstick, waiting for the moment to strike phosphorus and burn down the house. maybe the life they left at home last night was what they had settled for, years ago. maybe their wives had settled, too. maybe that's why they were out last night. trying to forget. they were visibly older, but not much better or worse off than anyone else in the room, merely two more drips of despair and disappointment to add to the night's collection. bars are reservoirs of misery. it might not seem that way, what with people laughing and singing and pressing up against the person they'll take home tonight and not call tomorrow. or maybe it's just me, silly girl, carrying a microscope instead of a matchbook on a friday night.
i didn't stay long. i was in memphis, and these were not intriguing strangers, and i would not meet anyone all night with whom i could talk shit and have no desire to see him again and then go home, alone, perfectly satisfied. it wouldn't happen that way. damn microscope.