I smelled like men. Men and smoke. St. Joseph bars aren't smoke-free unlike every restaurant and bar in Austin.
Much like the lingering trail of smoke as it swirls out of mouths and into faces, men's cologne is always strong and after hugs and hellos and how have you beens, much stronger than women's faint scents. And the particles stay with you. On you. And you can still smell them when you lay down to sleep at night.
That's what I thought about a week ago after my 10 year high school reunion when I crawled into bed, my ears ringing from the night. After dancing our shoes off at the actual reunion, several of us foolishly went out to the local bar where I was sobered not by the cup of water, but by the searching souls consoling themselves in beer.
One classmate stared, searching my pupils to pinpoint where he went wrong as if eyes could offer such an answer. And returning his gaze, pleading him to leave me be, I pushed him into a cab and hopefully home into bed.
Another classmate sneared, sliding his hands around waists and with slurred speech wasted his time on women who live in far away places.
And what started off as a lot of fun seeing old friends and dancing despite indifference, ended with sorrows drowned and the smells of insecurity seeped into my hair and skin.
The more beauty I see, the more emptiness I encounter; and redemption lingers somewhere in between, lurking between the haze and the hands, waiting to be grasped and asked to dance.
Dance. I should have stopped the evening after the dance.