He hasn’t been home in so long, this town paved with broken promises and dreams long dead and gone.
He got a text from Ken, there’s a party at tenth.
Everyone will be there.
Keystones and Busch Lights spilt everywhere, the whole place reeking with sweat, heartbreak, and cheap beer. The bass was shooting, everyone was cracking. His throat was dry, his mind was itching. His eyes wide open, he was looking.
He saw the back of her head from across the room.
“Who’s Helen?” asked the girl.
“I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.” He glanced at her down and up. “Where’s your boyfriend, girl?”
She looked up at him through her dark, hungry eyes. “Don’t have one this evening.”
He smiled. “That’s amazing.”
He pulled her towards the giant tide of sweating bodies, throbbing to the beat of the music, hearts pumping in this party. His hands rested low on her curving waist as her hips bounced with T.I.’s rhymes. Her hands on her knees, jutting out, digging in, teasing back out, she can have whatever she likes this time. He shut his eyes and drowned in wishful hope.
She leaned her back against his chest. White girls can’t dance to Kanye West. They listened awhile, feeling his heartbroken style.
“Need a ride home?”
She licked her lips. “Where’s your car?”
He needed this. He needed her. Can she help him? Melt him into nothing? Help him live tonight? He hoped so. Yet, he laid there emotionally empty, entangled in her porcelain arms. Who was this bitch snoring piss water at his face? Why was she her and not her? Can she ever be her?
He got up and searched the floor for his clothes. Headlights snuck in through the window blinds. He gently shut the front door behind him. Helen should be in town. He took out his phone. There she was between Harold and Howard. Just press call so he could hear her voice ask hello, so he could ask her what’s up. You back? How are you? It’s been a while. We should catch up. Want to go grab some lunch some time? He’d meet her and make some small chat with laughter and smiles and ask her some questions, then eventually see her more regularly, engage in longer conversations with longing looks and shy suggestions, asking bigger questions.
He closed his phone. He did this before, and she welcomed him to heartbreak. Don’t forget what she’s done, she whispered broken promises of love and a future dead and gone.