I walk into a bar
and the air is filled
with smoke and the scent
of old beer and sweat.
I hear the chatter of voices,
some of them raised in laughter,
others singing karaoke.
I move through fog of smoke
and someone grabs my arm.
“Hey.” He says. “Long time no see.”
His grip tightens. He smiles at me,
his small blue eyes are almost
lost within the folds of skin and his black hair is cut short.
“Why are you out? No one said you could go out.”
He tries to pull me to the front door,
tries to control my path as he used to.
“I really expected better of you.” He says.
He makes a tsk tsk sound. “Such a disappointment.”
His lips stretch themselves into a sneer.
“You were nothing then and you’re nothing now.”
I pull away from him and watch his smile falter.
I try to convey everything that I am feeling
with a look and words that hold a spark.
“You no longer have power over me.”
I walk away from him, letting the fog take me
and, as I step away from him,
the fog takes my memories of who I was with him.
Someone bumps into me from behind.
I turn to find it is someone else I used to know,
his bald head and ice blue eyes shining in the darkness.
“Watch where you’re going. You never did that, did you?”
He grins and I remember that grin. It always came
before he used his words to hurt me.
He looks displeased with me already.
“You always had your fucking nose in a book, didn’t you?”
He smiles now, but there is nothing warm within it.
“You were always my little freak. Don’t worry,”
Here he pinches my love handles like he use to,
“I can finally design your workout.”
He grips my love handles tighter, pinching the skin.
“You will finally be attractive.”
I pull myself out of his reach and when I look at him,
the spark that was in my words
has grown to a fire that is within my eyes.
He backs away from me and the fire begins to grow.
“Your opinion of me no longer matters.” I say.
I move even deeper into the fog of smoke,
the smell of cheap beer and sweat growing stronger.
I am looking for the exit, wanting to leave,
to be away from this place.
I see it and begin to move towards it,
but he steps into my path, blocking the exit.
I see his blond hair and cold blue eyes
before I see him. They seem to almost
glow within the smoke-filled shadows.
“You don’t deserve to be happy”
He says, by way of greeting me.
When he lays a hand on my arm,
I can’t help but shiver.
“You’re a broken man now.”
He says this in a whisper
and there is joy running throughout those words.
“No one else will want you. You’re lucky to have me.”
He looks me up and down and shakes his head sadly.
“Why don’t you just take yourself out of the equation?”
He slides closer to me and his smile is terrifying.
“Broken men don’t deserve happiness.”
I look him right in the eyes and smile at him.
His pale blue eyes widen in fear.
“I will no longer hear you.” I tell him.
At these words, the smell of sweat and cheap beer
begins to fade and, as I walk away from him,
I can feel the hold that he has over me,
the hand clenched like a fist within the mirror of myself,
begin to dissipate until it is no longer a concern.
I step through the exit to the bar,
and the air cool and fresh in my nose and on my skin.
A soft breeze teases my senses and a soft rain
I stand there,
letting it wash
all the smoke