I try to stand and, although it is slightly swollen, I find I am able to put a bit of weight on it. Badly sprained, not broken, I am able to limp towards the entrance of my apartment building as I realize that I am not dead, just stupid. I had somehow gotten it into my head that jumping from a second story window would kill me. I take the elevator to my floor and come to find that the door to my apartment is locked and the keys are inside. Dead men who leave through the window don’t need keys to their apartment anymore.

Judging by the light outside I figure it must be time for me to go to work, and luckily I never took off my uniform last night. I limp down the street to the restaurant where I go through the motions of my job. Jackie asks what the heck happened to me. I tell her I saved a baby from a burning building last night and passed out on the way home from smoke inhalation. She can tell I am lying, but is polite enough to leave it at that.

Near the end of my shift I am finally able to bring myself to look for the girl in the gas station. I do not see her, and I wonder where she is. After my shift I decide to limp down to Mel’s, my favorite bar. It is myfavorite because not a lot of people go there. I can’t stand those jerks that go to bars to dance or meet new people. Drinking is a very serious activity for me.

I ask the bartender for anything strong and look around, noticing that the only other people in the bar are a couple of old men watching a basketball game from the other end. My drink comes and I stare into it, living in its swirling, soothing mix, knowing that this is not the answer to my problems. It is then that I hear a beautiful voice next to me ask for a cranberry vodka. I know instantly it is the woman of my dreams, the girl from the gas station.

I try to look casually toward her as she sits on the stool next to mine. She is dressed nicer than I have seen her before and her hair is pulled back neatly in a bun. The makeup around her face is dark and smeared, as though she has been crying.

Lindsay Moe
Wasted Life
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