There’s something deliberate about wasting time.
You know when you sit down in front of the television after a full day of work, after a full night of partying,
that you are not going to do anything else for rest of the night.
Not your laundry, or that phone call to your mother, or starting that novel you said you were going to write when you were 15.
Heck, you might not even get up to pee.
But when you sit down with your shitty take out,
and your ‘hair of the dog’ mixed drink, you think of all the things you’re definitely going to do after this one episode.
You go over the list of responsibilities in your mind, and as you press play,
you damn well think, ‘Yes. After this one.”
The night before on the subway ride home, you listen to the same album, again. You said you would use the commute to read that new book you bought,
which by now is no longer actually new.
Instead, it stays in your backpack as you doze off. You wake up just as the doors are opening at the stop for your apartment.
On the walk from the train, you visualize yourself having a quick shower,
and then going to the gym and getting dinner before happy hour at 8.
But you walk through the front door,
and your shoes come off, and so do your aspirations.
It’s a good thing she took the dog,
or you’d also have to fit walking it onto the growing list of shit you’re never going to do.
It’s just after six now, and your gym bag is still in the closet, and you’ve got Reddit open on your phone; then Tinder, Instagram.
Then you’ve got whatever the fuck it is now
where you can glaze over faces and faces and glaze over faces that aren’t yours, and they’re not hers.
It’s a quarter to 8 and now you’ve got something; you’ve got walking 3 blocks to the bar, and you’ve got well drinks for 3 dollars, and you’ve got some shots for 3 dollars, and you’ve got it.
You go to the bathroom around 10 and after a nice shit, you wash your hands in the sink. The black soot and dirt from the day wash down the drain in mesmerizing swirls.
She used to yell at you because you would wait hours after work to wash your fucking hands, and now she’s not here to complain.
Your drunk is kicking in pretty good though, so you pump more soap onto your hands anyway, and rub them together until the water runs clear.
The dirt comes off and so does your conscious.
Back at the bar stool, there’s a pretty enough young enough thing that’s now seated next to you and you think about passing her up.
You imagine going home and doing your laundry. Instead, when she asks you to buy her a drink, you say “Yes.” And then you think, “Yes. After this one.”
It’s maybe, what, 1? 2? And you and the thing have put down
probably another half dozen, and you’re walking her back to your apartment.
You’re carrying her and half dragging her; or are you the one being carried?
You walk through the door and this person is already in your way.
Moving past her and into the kitchen, vague memories of feelings punctuate your foggy train of thought. You think about starting your novel.
Grabbing a beer from the fridge, you think, “After this one.”
You hear the thing yell from down the hall and the sound snaps you out of your drunken pondering. The lights are off when you walk into your bedroom.
In the undying light of the city that comes through your window,
you see a shape moving on your mattress.
You put your drink down on the nightstand,
and your pants come off and so does your memory.
It’s the next morning and the thing is gone. You sit upright in bed.
The glasses and bottles from the night before litter the dresser top.
When you lived together, she would always stick a coaster under your drinks so the furniture wouldn’t get ruined;
but now she’s not here and every flat surface in your apartment has a water mark on it.
You feel like you want to call your mother.
Fuck, you feel like you want to crawl home to your mother.
During the ride to work, you reflect on the night before and all the things you would have done differently; all the things you would have done instead.
You promise yourself when you get home that night, you are starting that damn book.
5 o’clock comes, then six, then eight,
and you haven’t penned a word, but you’re walking to the bar.
Somehow in your head you are still telling yourself, after this one drink you will go back home.
You get your beer, and finish it, and then the bartender asks if you want another round.
You do not pause when you reply, “Yes.”