I order two beers and chug. Outside I bum a smoke off a girl on her cell and she sneers as she rifles through her purse. The last bus passes me by, so I walk. In my ears, Between the Bars, and I follow a trail of condom wrappers and mermaid-smeared coffee cups. I float by emptying pubs and dives breathing in deep the escaping swirl of cigarette smoke and alcohol breath. The smell reminds me of you. But under my feet there is only tar-patched asphalt, not the cobblestone we shared. The street names are in Spanish, but they lead to no beach. Fireworks do not go off at will here, and at this time of night only the vagrants and I roam. There is no borrowed flat to end up at tonight, just an old apartment building.
And there in the dark I wait for a phantom elevator, but am forced to take the stairs. At apartment 7C I stumble inside and leave the keys jingling in the door behind me. I look at myself in the mirror across the foyer; darkness droops from my brow blanketing my eyes. I laugh and stained teeth are now the brightest things on my face. In the hallway the floorboards creak a little sobriety into me, guiding me toward a bedroom stagnant with familiarity.
In bed I kiss my lover on the cheek and am greeted with “you smell like alcohol.”
“Yeah?” I slur, “I wish you did too.”
To this nothing. Silence for a while. A sigh. “I know you do.” With that we roll away from each other, my lover stares out the window in hopes of mending an interrupted sleep, and I stare into nothing, my eyes fixed on a dark eastern horizon. My skin is moist now from a fog thick with the smell of you. My fingers play with the sand that sifts into itself between us and we roll away with the waves of the Mediterranean.