Cheers To Him, That Ill-Fated Lover

by G.T.

These were words that never failed to stop short at the tip of my burning throat. Rehearsed before a mirrored reflection of my own likeness or blurted out to your unsuspecting face that I know as well as mine, these were words that teetered along the line separating mutual respect from impassioned selfishness. Or fear it was. Fear at the loss of something indescribable but felt inwardly, if you know what I mean. Pardon me, my mind is clouded. The bottle at this table is also empty. The last swig bit my throat on its way down. It was these words that came up. A regurgitation of alcohol because it did not sit well with my gut instinct. How many times I could have said it, but a phone call broke the intensity of the moment for me. Or a commercial break had ended and our program was back on. How I wanted so badly to deflect fate, but blamed my failure on coincidence. It happened every goddamn time, or I try to console myself by thinking so. That ounce of respect so fragile that it could have so easily been interpreted as disapproval, or worse, deceit. It’s impossible to convey without the perfect tone of voice, the perfect rise of the brow, the right body language. The slightest error in any of said elements can be seen as overbearing or too passive-aggressive to be taken seriously. I did not want to be taken too lightly, or somewhat lightly, or just plain lightly. It needed to be taken by you, and I had none of said elements. There I go, blaming it on incompetence, which no one will take seriously anyways. Damage be done. My throat is red no more.

So here’s to you. Not so much a congratulatory toast, but a eulogy to you, you ill-fated lover. All I wanted to say all these years, every goddamn weekend and at every bar counter was, Don’t change so much for her that we can’t recognize you.

But who am I? Only the drunk S.O.B. who commands the attention of an entire room of guests by clanging a fork against a champagne glass. Tell the waiter to bring another bottle. This is gonna be a long night.