Jimmy, my nephew and my godson, is staying with us for the week. I am sincere and completely honest when I say that I love the time spent with him, but I am also sincere and completely honest when I admit that I would like my “old life” back. Jimmy is all-consuming and being a naturally selfish and self-involved person, it has been a difficult adjustment. I only say this because there are activities and projects I’d like to complete and accomplish but with Jimmy here, I’m only allowed a small window of opportunity in which to do it.
And then my stomach drops when I realize I’m pawning my inadequacies off on a four-year-old boy.
I don’t know what’s been going on with me lately; I feel lazy and weak, and I’m anxious ALL the time.
Hopefully my body’s reacting to some great change that I have yet to be aware of. Maybe there’s excitement brewing. Or maybe it’s just a case of the Mondays.
PROMPT: “I’m never doing that again.”
PIECE: “I’m never doing that again,” Brianne grimaced as she slammed the shot glass back down on the wooden, dampened bar top. She shook her head quickly from side to side and pursed her lips, doing her best to handle the way the liquor burned as it slid down her throat and exploded upon entering her liver.
Hannah laughed with her head thrown back. She was handling the shot decidedly better than her best friend, although there was no mistaking the sudden appearance of a mischievous gleam in her stormy, hazel eyes. “Oh, don’t be such a baby! It wasn’t that bad.” Hannah took a long, impressive gulp of beer from her amber bottle. “Hey, I’m going to use the bathroom. I’ll be right back.” Sliding gracefully off the stool, Hannah grabbed her clutch bag and moved like a gazelle through the massive throng of people. The bar was unusually crowded for a Wednesday night and Brianne wondered if she and Hannah shouldn’t try somewhere else. Between the roar of the crowd and the booming music, they could hardly hear one another and it had been months since the last time they had talked; there was much to catch up on. Musing on the time that had passed, Brianne began to pick at the label on the beer bottle, peeling it back slowly so as not to leave any residue upon it. It was a feat she had yet to accomplish to her satisfaction – the condensation made it difficult, and there was always some white paper left over, complete with a fuzzy-feeling kind of adhesive.
Brianne’s attention was diverted when a young man sidled up beside her and seated himself upon what had been Hannah’s stool. Indignant, she turned to the intruder with her brows furrowed in anger and bellowed, “Hey pal, keep moving! My friend’s coming back any second!”
The young man turned to face her, and Brianne’s stormy countenance instantly smoothed. In fact, contempt turned to compassion for this young man looked so miserable, it was heart-breaking. His big, brown eyes were framed by worried brows and he seemed defeated, broken. His thin lips were fighting a childish pout, like it was taking everything he had within to keep it together. His shoulders were way up high by his ears and he just couldn’t relax. He looked tortured, but did his best to offer Brianne a pleasant grin when he said, “I’m sorry. I’ll just order my drink and be out of your way.”
“Oh, okay,” Brianne said lamely, her voice soft and probably inaudible. To try and smooth things over, she said, “Take your time; it’s okay, really.”
The young man nodded and then turned his attentions to flagging down the bartender, who was an older gentleman currently working the other end of the bar, where young girls were giggling like mad at a joke that probably wasn’t even remotely funny. The bartender was working hard for tips, the girls were working hard to be noticed, and the desolate young man was doomed to be thirsty. When the bartender shuffled back to retrieve a bottle of vodka, Brianne moved to wave her arm as close to his face as humanly possible, to ensure his full attention so she could order the man what he wanted. But as she raised her arm, a hand came from behind to still it.
Hannah had returned from the ladies’ room. “Hey, my seat’s gone!” Hannah faked a frown and added, “Let’s get out of here, anyway. It’s getting too crowded! Let’s try Donovan’s!” Hannah tugged at Brianne, indicating her wish for her friend to follow. Brianne took one last look at the wretched soul beside her, sighed, collected her purse and slid off the stool.
She made it to the exit without looking back.