Sweet Alchemy

I bought a girl a rose this weekend. It was on impulse, a last-minute apology, a chance to stick out from the other glassy eyed guys offering her shots. It was also her birthday.

I gave her the rose, any edge of embarrassment blunted by the requisite surge of shots I slugged before the Uber. She inhaled, smiled, thanked. We talked, she laughed, I drank.

The night sped and the bar surged around us. Around her. But she remained motionless, rose gripped in one hand, clutch in the other. Friends and strangers extended dancing hands and clouded drinks, but she reproached all comers.

Behind pretty eyes, hesitation scintillated. The ugly trio of self-pessimism: doubt, fear and loathing guarded her every movement. Those bastards seep through even the heaviest masks of makeup.

Thirty minutes later she was gone. What she’s looking for I do not know, but it won’t be wrought from the sweet alchemy of another night, another bar, another round. This, at least, we have in common.

As my roommate and I made to leave, I saw the rose, slightly battered and entirely forgotten on the sticky bar top. I took it with me and gave it to the Mexican girl working the midnight shift at the burger joint down the road. She tucked it behind her ear.

———-

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