dubious

standing near the dark lounge’s entrance—all reds and blacks and shadow curtains—and the maître d’ weaves through to me; he glides on measured steps tuxedoed and slick haired blonde like wheat stalks, face cheekboned-high and clean straight-razor shaven with a shot of absinthe punch in each hand looking like glow sticks and I wonder split-second recollectively if that’s what’s in them, a broken-necked carnation boutonnière the only imperfection in his delivery and it’s the anomaly I singular notice as he hands me a phosphorescent vial and says a few graceful words of anachronistic flattery and suggestive sly insinuative charm like he’d just as soon undress me as shake my hand and I’m not sure what my mouth does but his smiles as if to cover for his eyes and our glasses tap and raise and then my mouth says “to…” after about a two-and-a-half-second pause which I hope he knows I noticed too and he says the same “to…” like he got me and looks me deep in the eye and I surrender my discomfort, just give it up, catching up with the moment and thinking as my sight turns inward and glass turns upward all I ever want is a little peace, like this, and then some more, and I’m not even asking so it can’t be too much and I don’t care if that wasn’t my toast it’s my wish and those are meant for silent inwards and upwards and the wormwood glow stick substance pours downward and I hope nicely naïve that I’ll lose my mind like they used to in Paris cafés and in the losing I’ll find it like I like to imagine they did, romanticized and at ease and none of it will seem so strange while I’ll be stranger than ever and call it all self-determination

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