Awake from another dreamless sleep. Roll out of bed. Get ready for another dreamless day. Brush your teeth and tie your tie, drive through the snow to walk through the taupe-colored door. Pour a cup of coffee, cheap and black and strong. Walk into your box and sit down, watch the typical shadows flutter by as you stare at the screen.
Stop on the way home, buy a bottle of whiskey. Open your door and pull off your tie. Ignore the urge to throw it into the fireplace and toss in a match. Step on to your porch and pull out your cigarettes. Stare over the railing and into the trees. Watch the smoke curl into the cold, stale air and disappear like the hours behind you.
Open the bottle and pour a glass. Drink it in one. Wash it down with your last can of Coke. Take another drink. It won’t hurt anything. Have another. Wash them down until the Coke is empty and your head feels light. Now go for a walk.
Keep walking. The air is cold, but you have a coat and the whiskey keeps you warm. When the cold starts to bite, stop at the coffee shop on the corner. Order it black. Smile at the barista. She smiles back. Sit and drink your coffee and stare at your cell phone. Read some email, catch up on that blog. Now step outside for another cigarette. There are people walking in and out. Go around the side of the building before you light up.
The barista walks out a back door. She sees you and smiles at you again.
“Do you have a lighter?” she asks.
Smile at her, say yes, and hand it to her. The flame lights up her face for just a moment before the cloud of smoke appears.
“Thanks,” she says. She doesn’t walk away.
Tell her your name. Ask her for hers.
“I’m Abbie,” she says, “It’s nice to meet you.”
Tell her the pleasure is yours. It is. Smile at her again. Take a puff of your cigarette.
“You’ve had a few,” she says. Not a hint of judgment, just sly smile.
“How did you know?”
“I can smell it,” she says, “bourbon?” she asks.
Nod as you take another drag.
“Do you have more?” she asks you.
Tell her yes. Tell her you walked there. She offers to drive you back. Smile again, tell her yes.
Tell her to stop at the convenience store on the way. Buy another pack of cigarettes and another twelve pack of Cokes. Hand her a cigarette when you get back in her car. Try not to talk too much. Tell her where to turn, where to park in front of your building. Lead her up the stairs, open the door.
The whiskey is still on the table. Get out two glasses, pour two drinks. Ask her if she wants hers mixed. She doesn't. Clink glasses and take a swig. Crack open another coke. Hand it to her. She washes down the whiskey. Take her glass and pour more whiskey. She lights the cigarette you gave her with your lighter.
“I don’t smoke in here,” you tell her, and start toward the porch.
“But it’s cold outside,” she says as you open the sliding glass door.
“It’s not so bad,” you tell her, “drink that, you’ll be fine.” Hand her the glass. She takes it, and takes a big drink before she steps on to the porch.
“So what do you do?” she asks while you light your cigarette.
Tell her you drink bourbon and pick up baristas. She laughs. Time passes faster than usual. She laughs a lot, her pink lips spread wide on her pale face, her dark hair falling in front of her laughing eyes. You laugh a lot. Something you aren't used to. It feels good but unnatural. Before you know it, she is sitting in your lap, pouring the last of the whiskey into the glasses sitting on the table, a cigarette burning between her fingers. Another one between yours. Smoke rises and fills the air as you both toast the end of the bottle. Neither of you needs to chase the drink.
She turns to face you. She’s wearing the smile that has been infecting you all night. Lean toward her. Kiss her.
At first it’s like the laughter. It’s unnatural but it’s good. She kisses you back, her mouth opening and her arms wrapping around you. Your hands find her. One on her leg, one on the small of her back. The kiss stops feeling unnatural. Everything else feels unnatural. There is you, and her, and the kiss. There is nothing else.
You’re in your bed. Wearing nothing and held tight in an embrace as she struggles to undress without ending the kiss. The room is cold. Pull the blankets over you both as the last of your clothes and her clothes are flung aside. The kiss is all there is.
Awake from a dreamless sleep with a smile. Kiss the beautiful girl in your bed. Roll out of bed with all the possibilities of life dancing in your mind. Get ready for another day.