I insist you do this. Insist. Everybody insists. What about what I want? Well I guess the question that I need to ask myself first is… what do I want? Tristan found himself at the bar again. Drinking shot after shot to forget today’s event and yet each shot only heightened the emotions he felt today. Fear, shame, nervousness, and anger. The funny thing is that Tristan didn’t start the day off like this.
His alarm went off at 5:00 AM as per usual. He rose up from his bed without a struggle and then smiled.
“Today is going to be different. I can do this!”
His hands smacked both sides of his face and he felt the rush of his energy as he began his normal ritual for the morning. Tristan was the first to arrive at work, so he navigated his way to his cubicle in the dark and organized his desk for his eight hour shift. Two hours in traffic and he still felt excited from this morning. Nothing is going to get me down, not even today’s work. Then he opened up his emails and began going through each request one by one.
4 hours flew by like nothing and each angry call or email only helped to push Tristan forward until lunch allowed him some reprieve. He galavanted over to his usual table to find his coworkers already munching on today’s lunch.
“Whoa. What’s with the smile on your face?” Jan looked at him suspiciously.
“It’s nothing. Just… I don’t know. Today feels like a good day you know?” Tristan responded with an even bigger smile.
“Well stop it. It’s creeping me out.” The rest of the group just laughed at Jan’s comment.
“What the hell Jan? What’s wrong with me smiling?”
“Well I can think of several reasons, but the biggest one is that you’re usually either frowning or grumbling about some customer over the phone.”
Tristan sat down across from Jan and he began to munch at his PB&J sandwich.
“Well get used to it because after today your dear old friend Tristan is a changed man!”
Jan grinned. “I’ll see it when I believe it.”
Lunch continued on as usual. Everyone shared either their funniest conversation with a customer or their most aggravating. Stories could range anywhere between a customer who just called the wrong number or to someone who threatened to contact their manager because they couldn’t get what they wanted. Either way, Tristan didn’t let these stories get to him because he knew deep down that today was a good day and nothing was going to ruin it.
4 more hours and 50 calls later, and the day flew by. Tristan closed up all his applications and threw on a duffle bag. He rushed to the bathroom and a few minutes later arrived out with a long sleeve collared plaid button down shirt and jeans. He had his hair re-gelled and now his excitement exceeded beyond normal levels.
Once in the car he stared at the rearview mirror.
“You can do this. Remember you’re a changed man. You’re confident and you’re going to do great!”
He took a deep breath and drove off to his next destination. The drive was quick enough. He now found himself in front of a gastropub that had just opened in the newly redesigned area of the city. The bar was in the middle and surrounding it was a beer garden.
Tristan navigated his way through a sea of drunks and loud laughter and then eventually found a table for two. He rushed over and sat down quickly before an older couple could acquire the table for themselves. Normally, Tristan would have been embarrassed, but not this time.
He pulled out his phone and sent out a text. Found a table! Text me when you’re here and I’ll see you soon 🙂
Then he sat there waiting and still smiling. An hour later and he checked his phone only to be disappointed that there was no response. Tristan started to panic. Did I show up at the wrong time? No we both agreed to meet tonight at 7. Maybe she was just running late.
His phone buzzed and he quickly read through the text displayed. Hey Tristan. I’m really sorry but I can’t make it tonight. Something came up and I’ll have to reschedule. I’ll ttyl.
2 hours in traffic and 8 hours of work and Tristan had managed to survive it all. One text message was all it took to rid the smile that occupied Tristan’s face all day. He slid his phone into his pocket and left the gastropub behind for a smaller and more empty bar. The sounds of drunken people screaming were replaced by quieter conversations and 90s music.
Tristan now found himself at the bar with three empty shot glasses in front of him.
“Would you like another patron shot?” The bartender paused in front of him.
“Yes please.” Tristan stared at the patron shot for a bit and quickly downed it like his three other shots.
After his fourth shot, the voice of his friend rang through his head. “Come on Tristan! You got to just get out there and date! You can’t just sit around!” His friend insisted.
The thing was Tristan was doing fine. He enjoyed the alone time that he had and he enjoyed the ability to do whatever he wanted. He wasn’t looking for a relationship and he was perfectly content with being single at the moment, but his friend insisted. Everyone insisted that he put himself out there.
By the sixth shot Tristan was long gone and the bartender had cut him off, so he sauntered off to his car and sat there in the darkness. Alone. The feeling used to depress him, but the darkness that surrounded him brought him comfort. Unlike the people around him, the darkness didn’t disappoint him. It allowed him to be alone and it allowed him to think for himself. The darkness did no insisting and it left him alone just the way he wanted.