Babies aren’t friends. Babies are babies.

If we are going to shed our baggage, it has to happen in exactly this way … this ludicrous, preposterous way. And it’s the only way – Bill Simmons

On a particular night in May, I am a single, sad, lonely person.  Emphasis on the word single, not in the “not dating somebody” sense but in the sense that there is one of me.

It’s because of this that I am at the movies alone on a Saturday evening.  I’m sitting between two well-dressed women who are rapidly talking about a man they know who isn’t a good match for a friend of theirs, and a woman who sits down alone with a large bag of popcorn and a soda.  I’m wondering if she often comes to the movies alone to gorge on buttery substances and if I should ask if she’s met my ex-girlfriend, but then a man sits down beside her.

We’re packed in a theater in Pacific Place to see Cyrus.  The chatty women have fancy festival passes and are excited to go to the party after the movie.  I have a tattered ticket that is not, in fact, attached to a lanyard.  Well, actually I have two of them.

The movie is maybe not the best movie for me to see when I’m feeling lonely because while I start out identifying with John C. Reilly (John), the awkward, unlucky-in-love everyman who stumbles into a relationship with a beautiful but strange woman, I end up identifying with Jonah Hill (Cyrus), the woman’s passive-aggressive son who selfishly tries to break them up.  Most of the time during the movie I think about the bizarre fact that my pocket hasn’t vibrated the entire time, and now it’s 7:30, no 8:30, no 9:00.

So, instead of making a desperate yet assertive phone call, after the movie I text message Aaron Shannon.

“Going out tonight?”

“Yes”

“Where to?”
“Cha or bus stop.  Meet at cha?”

“Sure.  I’m downtown.  What time you want to meet?”

“half hour”

“cool see you then.”

This is how normal people make plans.

Aaron Shannon is a good friend.  We have both recently lost Meghans to the lure of international travel.  His was a little less friendly in parting. His wound is a little more raw than mine.  He likes to pretend it doesn’t bother him.  We are two sad and lonely people.

Cha Cha is a very popular bar for some reason.  Much like everything on Capitol Hill, it garnered hipster praise back in the day and has now caught on to the mainstream.  It is a good place to people watch.  Aaron Shannon is a good person to hang out with on nights like these because he knows enough people to not feel too ostracized but also isn’t so socially demanding as to expect a constant array of interesting conversation topics.  We commiserate about our failed romances, make fun of people we work with, and watch the parade of sluts, douchebags, and bohemians slump down the stairs into the dimly, slightly red lit bar.  On many nights at the Cha Cha, Aaron knows the bouncer, who claims to be willing to eject on person or group of people of Aaron’s choice, “so keep your eye out.”

“Just say he called you a fag.”

It’s not that the Cha Cha is anything special, but it does have a photo booth.  In my experience, the photo booth has been a good place for getting drunk girls to make out with you.

“It’s also a good place for doing blow,” Aaron says.

I look at him.  I’m not sure what to say.  Drugs have such a mythos in our culture, or more particularly in my mind, that I can’t really get my mind around that statement.  “I’ve never tried it,” I say.

“I have some,” he says.  I’m silent.  “You know, if you wanted to see what the fuss was about.”

He touches my leg.  I think for a fleeting second that he’s coming on to me.  He’s actually handing me a baggy.  The smallest baggy I’ve ever seen.  The only baggy I’ve ever seen.  I go upstairs to the bathroom.  I am terrified.  I am shaking. As instructed I dip my house key inside the baggy.  I smooth out a tiny amount.  I stick it up my nose.  It has a pleasant aroma.  I inhale.

I wait.  I feel…not altogether different.  I didn’t do very much.  I feel like my brain is moving a little bit faster, I guess.  A little happier, but maybe I’m just relieved to have gotten it over with.  A little less drunk, but maybe effect of the last vodka tonic has simply had time to wane.  I go back downstairs.

Aaron is talking to Chelsea, and then there are some douchey guys talking to Chelsea and asking her to go into the photo booth with them, and then they leave, and when Aaron gets up to go to the bathroom, I’m talking to Chelsea.  Actually, she’s talking to a girl who just came by, and now that the girl has left, she looks depressed.  I’m not sure where the boundaries of just having met someone apply here.

“You okay?”

She shakes her head.  We sit in silence.  She has black mascara tears running down her cheeks but her voice doesn’t waver when she says, “I broke up with my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago because I thought he was cheating on me.  I just found out that I was right.”

I don’t say anything.  I think about the recency indicated by the word “just.”  I say the sympathetic things.  I say, “I wish there was something I could say.  But it’s just shit.”  She nods.

Aaron comes back.  They leave to smoke a cigarette.  They come back.  He hands me the baggy again.  He wants to be alone with Chelsea.  I don’t mind.

I come back.  We’re on the fourth or fifth round of drinks.  We are three sad, lonely people.

As the night goes on, Chelsea appears to be cheered up.  It is fairly clear in my mind that she’d go home with either of us.  It’s also clear Aaron wants it more.

We stay until last call.  Aaron buys me one more round.  We get up to leave but it’s still full.  Chelsea gives me a serious look and points at my drink.  I shrug.  She continues her pointed look.  I lock eyes with her and drink the whole thing slowly through a straw.  I enjoy the image.  The liquid level slowly dropping.  In truth, I probably look like a huge nerd drinking through a tiny straw rather than just chugging the thing.

We leave.  Aaron and Chelsea walk down the hill.  I walk up the hill.


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