and the music plays slowly in the background while the bartender mixes another drink

10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. Ten seconds. That’s all it takes to die. Of course, this is the same for everyone. I sat in a bathroom stall, repeating those ten numbers over and over again, waiting for death to come find me. It didn’t.

Maybe it doesn’t like to perform on command. Maybe it has higher standards than calling on those asking for it. Maybe a lot of things. I rose from that stall, went to the mirror, re-applied my eye-liner and walked into the restaurant.

“Are you ok?” Shane looked at my blouse.

“Me?” I smiled. “Yes, I’m fine.”

“I was worried about you for a second. I ordered you another drink.”

“Thanks.” I smiled again. Tears started in my eyes, but I kept them safe in their bays.

“Are you sure everything’s alright?”

“Yes. Really.” I felt like calling him on the ‘for a second’ remark, but I decided it was unfair.
I looked down. I had been fingering the tablecloth since I got back. There were black eyeliner marks throughout. They looked like rivers in the middle of a white desert. I pushed the cloth over my knees.

“I’m just not feeling myself lately.” A third smile.

“That’s fine. I want your opinion on these.” He pulled out a color swatch.

“What are they?”

“Right now just colors. Soon, they can color in the apartment.”

“Oh, these are absolutely wonderful.” I pulled my tablecloth back out, tracing out each river, quietly.