people had been filtering out of the bar one by one. now he was left alone, in that corner table near the toilets, still not quite done. the thing was, his mind was a riot of thoughts, like the streets at 9AM on a busy city sidewalk. All the thoughts rushed and buzzed and zipped across his mind, looking terribly busy, but each was really without much of a goal or destination.
underneath all of them were ofcourse thoughts of dolly. he had woken up this morning in a sweat of panic. he felt like he was forgetting her. letting go of his grieving. but he didnt feel like he was ready for that yet. because he still didnt have anything in his life to replace her with, other than his mourning for her.
he closed his eyes and tried to recall the memories, like desperately revising an old memorised lesson. the weight of her in his arms as he picked her up screaming. the way she nestled into him. the way she suddenly screamed "DADDY!" and then burst into hysterical giggling. the way she tried to hide getting upset when he was too busy or too caught up to pay her attention. the way she lay pale and cold when he last saw her. wasted. half her laughing self.
he didnt want to forget. he didnt want to let go of his mourning, but he felt like it was slipping away from him, hard as he tried to hold on it. it was being pushed out of his mind by tiny ursuping stupid little attentions and affections. he didnt want that to happen.
in a moment of secret desperation, he called his wife. maybe talking to her would help. she sounded surprised and then strange. like she didnt know what to say anymore. there were long awkward pauses while they each tried to come up with something gay and funny to talk about.
it was funny he thought. how he wrestled with this growing sense of depression, this desperation on his own. he felt - at times - like he was sinking in a bog of quick sand inside his mind - falling into himself, so to speak. he felt like screaming, but his voice wouldnt come out. he desperately wanted to reach out to someone, beg some passerby to stop and help, but ironically, when he talked to anyone, he would just laugh and make jokes or talk about inconsequential things that didnt matter. while the beast of quiet desperation sulked and skulked and seethed inside. and then they, innocently naiive, walked away again, with a smile and a laugh, thinking (probably) what a fun cheerful person he was, and the beast looked out after them, through the bars of the cage of politeness and social expectat normalcy, and grind his teeth in anger and hatred, at them and at their bliss and his helplessness, and the frustration of the whole thing.
but then he knew it would pass. perhaps that was the curse of it. he was yet a practical man. he went to work, made his money, and did all the other practical things. he knew many people he could talk to about these wild things in his head, but they were too different, too much on the other side of the fence. they were wastrels, and junkies and, sometimes he thought, wasted perverts. maybe he was too much of a mix up of too many things. maybe he just wanted to much.
a waiter was looking at him strangely. he felt like they wanted him to go, though it wasnt yet closing time. but his mind was still a murky mass of unresolved thoughts. he wanted to be done thinking before he went home. he wanted to drink till he was tired and mind numbed and sleepy. in his dreams, dolly always came alive, again.