It was a Wednesday night in 2000 as I sat at the bar of a smoky jazz club with my best friend, Dave. We faced away from the music, our eyes instead turned toward the mirrored bar or each other as we chatted the evening away.
I’d been working long hours, I was tired and much more settled down than most people would expect an almost 24 year old single tattooed girl to be. I wanted to be at home in bed that evening, maybe watch a show, finish a pack of cigarettes, laugh with my roommate… but my friend, I hadn’t seen him in ages and sometimes you have to make time for those you love right?
This was the second bar we’d been to that night. The first one we visited was loud and large. In the later hours it would fill up with kids who would dance the night away over stiff drinks and ear damage. It was his kind of place but not mine, so we moved down the street to the smaller jazz club that was nestled into the corner of a building.
At the time it was an institution. It had been there for years and I never would have imagined that 8 years later it be a strip club… of course this is Portland so I should have known.
It wasn’t a strip club at the time though. It was a Jazz club. A smoky bar filled with good music, good drinks, good food and me and my best friend.
He and I had a bit of a falling out a year or so before and we had just gotten around to making up. We were just now comfortable in each others presence again. In the year or more that we hadn’t spoken he did a lot of growing up, he quit smoking, got a good job, a nice car. I hadn’t quit smoking yet, I’d gotten more tattoos and developed a love of tequila. Oh and a new bitterness towards men that would date me… I was through dating at the time… I wanted nothing to do with men so the timing of our reconciliation couldn’t have been better really.
I was truly so happy to have my friend back.
And so that night that we sat there talking meeting someone knew was the very last thing on my mind. I thought we’d have a quiet evening, head to our homes and get up for work the next day. I didn’t think he would call up his friend from work and insist that he come down and meet us. I didn’t think that when his friend resisted he would put me on the phone and have me tell his friend to come meet us.
His poor friend who was trying to have a quiet night at home watching the The News Hour and drinking wine. His friend who was comfortably seated on his futon for a calm Wednesday night at home. His friend who did drive all the way into town to meet us because when I was put on the phone I told him the truth…
Dave’s not gonna leave you alone until you come down.
For some reason that piece of honesty got his friend up off the couch, into clean clothes, into his car, on the freeway and all the way down to the the smoky little jazz club.
While he did all this Dave and I sat at the bar and drank.
It was less than an hour after we had hung up the phone when I turned around to see a man walking into the bar. He didn’t smile… he kind of grumped, though in a pleasant way. My heart skipped a beat as the cynical looking man made a beeline for the bar where we sat and then it sank when I saw that he was coming straight towards us.
I could not would not be attracted to his friend.
I was done with dating… at least for the time being. I didn’t want to meet some snarky sexy guy that I could call my own.
I had no choice.
Mr. Kaos walked up, clapped Dave on the shoulder, and then he smiled at me.
Eight years ago yesterday. 1 week before my 23th birthday.
I’ve been his ever since.