Chapter 1


    I wish I could say it was because I was drunk and the music was so loud that I couldn’t think, and that the smoke was
so thick it was hazing my vision and decision making capacities, and what the hell would you expect but for her to walk in
on this of all nights, and that when she stepped through the door of this shit hole bar I couldn’t ever remember her looking
so God-damned good in that tight shirt and that tight skirt and that oh so heartbreaking sum of all pieces…. And I wish I
could say that she took a seat somewhere across the bar with three of her friends and that she was pretending not to notice
me and that this, along with the fact that I very obviously hadn’t had sex in a considerable length of time, necessitated my
insistence on having more beer on the table and maybe some bourbon for the boys, just me and the boys on this night of
nights. And I wish that her coy cold-shouldering had caused me to sit and drink and cuss and think I was acting like
something approximating a man, talking louder than I do and laughing harder than I should, and that when the band began
to play I’d begun to sing along with my eyes closed, searching the lyrics for guidance and meaning and excuses for the act
I knew I’d inevitably wind up engaging in by night’s end. And I wish I’d discussed the depravity of said act in rowdy
dysphemisms with the rest of my friends, clanging glasses and sloppily high-fiving each other like a bunch of high school
fucking towel snappers while laughing at and bragging about our own moral shortcomings. And I wish that she’d
eventually walked over and acted surprised to see me, as if there had ever been any doubt, and then asked the same
frivolous questions that ex-girlfriends always ask before sitting down and subsequently placing her hand upon my inner
thigh and repeatedly informing me that she was sooooo drunk. And I wish that by night’s end I had told her that I could
absolutely murder a pizza and she had said with a sly smile that that was such a coincidence because she just happened to
have pizza back at her place and would I like to come along for a slice or three, and that when I ultimately arrived at her
apartment she didn’t actually have any pizza but instead invited me to her room so we could dim the lights and look at the
pale green stars on her ceiling while listening to a Chet Baker album and pretending that we were just old friends innocently
lying atop the Simmons Beautyrest that used to be the battleground for our epic lovemaking crusades. And I wish that I’d
finally given in to what I always knew I would, knowing full well that it would lead me to my present state of regret, but
somehow finding the comfort and maybe even a certain degree of skewed dignity in the fact that I had acted in a manner
similar to those better than and before me, those of my ilk who had been helpless in the face of drunkenness and stupidity,
and crippled by the pangs of loneliness and desperation.

    I wish that things had happened that way. Because maybe, just maybe I could live with myself if those were the events
that led me to this lonely fire escape outside my ex-girlfriend’s window. But the sad truth of it is, it was a Friday afternoon,
I didn’t have anywhere else to go, and I didn’t have a single fucking better thing to do.