The Run of Us

Jaylee Alde

We are standing under a lit marquee. We are ghosts still haunting last year’s windows.  I am staring at our shoes. We’re waiting in line for the rock & roll show to start.

Last year we hated each other so much we pretended to be strangers in a bar.  It was the first time we'd seen each other since she kicked me out. Since we ended things.  When I got home that evening my phone rang.  It was her. She was drunk and wanting to haunt the days when everything felt like dusk.  

That night, last year, she asked me a vulgar question and I gave her a vulgar answer. 
(What was said was our secret.  A secret we use to carefully stitch to the backs of our pillows and unravel when no one was looking.  And it meant the world to us.  We thought nobody would understand the violence we needed.  We were never good for each other but we knew what angles to take to almost get there.) 

And now we're here.  The line to get inside is a distant chatter. We’re already three drinks in and heading to our seats.  Jay Reatard is almost done with his set.  We are thirty rows from the back wall.  We are so far back that we must trust that the people on stage are who they say they are.  We have plastic cups of expensive beer at our feet. 

It’s December something and we are trying to celebrate Christmas together. 

I pass you a bag of cocaine and a cap from a disposable pen.  Everyone around us watches.  We listen half-heartedly to the bands wail under a cheap chandelier.  The buzzing in our jaws wails louder.  We pound our feet onto the concrete floor like every beat and pluck is our favorite song. 

We have only said a few words to each other tonight. We no longer make eye contact that lasts longer then the syllables in our names. We’ve been like this for a year. For every song, we stare at everything except each other.   

We leave after the encore.  We forget to drink our expensive beer.  We walk out giggling for no reason.  Outside of The Warfield, on Market St., is apocalyptic and strange.  We want more from the evening but don’t know which direction to take. 

(When we broke it off, lines were drawn, and everything was exaggerated.  We twisted love into a political campaign.  Now for the last year, we spend countless days haunting my small apartment pretending that the world is empty and stops at my window.)

Tonight, under this lit marquee, I finally know exactly what we should do but I’m not brave enough to tell you.

“Where to now?”

“I don’t know.”  I say.