I found a barstool and shrugged my coat off. The bartender noticed me.
"We're doing last call in fifteen."
"Stoli rocks and a water, please."
I got my drink. At the same time, I noticed two women ordering shots to my left. Dialog lost to bar noise. I leaned towards the one closest to me, whom I've met and re-met a few times. Welcome to the 5 Point.
"Billi, what are you drinking?"
"It's a Derek special. I'm sorry, but I can't remember your name."
I told her. We both smiled. Memories were recovered.
"You remembered my name because there aren't that many Billi girls."
I wanted badly to say no, I remembered her because we'd had a great conversation one night and she was very pretty. Everything came out wrong; I said yes.
I drank my drink. She returned to her table and drank hers with her friends. The clock ticked down.
The bartender turned on the lights and said he was going to take our liquor. I put on my sunglasses and gulped my drink. Billi came up to the bar to close her tab. I took my glasses off.
I summoned all my courage and touched her on the shoulder. "Billi, what I wanted to say was that you're very pretty and I wouldn't have forgotten you."
She looked at me for a second and smiled. "You're very sweet," she said and called me by name. I smiled back.
I'm a part of my community. I make friends with my neighbors. I wish I was in love.
Sartre was wrong. Hell isn't other people. He was naive, egotistical, and self-centered. If he could have lost himself for even a moment, he might have understood. Hell is not other people.
Hell is people.