There was a time when we gathered around the counter of the bar. That’s what it felt like, a gathering. I say we gathered at the counter of the bar but mostly I sat in the back, reading “The Heart of Yoga” and drinking one IPA, and then another, on the house. The second one was always free. The first one was waiting for me at the bar by the time I walked to the counter.
Sometimes she’d call me over because everyone was having a shot of something at the same time. I never asked what we were drinking or why. I just smiled and said thanks. I took the shot and walked back to my book and read. I needed the noise and the beer and I needed her and her customers. They liked me and I liked that they liked me, even though I mostly talked to no one.
Sometimes I’d drink too much, sometimes friends would come and then her customers would talk more to us or they’d buy us drinks. They would ask me what exactly I was studying and then tell me what they knew about yoga. Sometimes we’d all sit at the bar and eat take out and she’d tell us we were not in a bar but in a living room. There’d be the day she’d arm wrestle my friend, if my friend lost we’d have stay for another. There was the door man who told me about the comics he loved and the video games he’d played. He was a big man that could kick your ass but gently told me there wasn’t enough light to read. There was looking up from my book and meeting someone, then there was making out with him at the jukebox and bringing him into the bathroom and then pushing him out of the bathroom, then taking him out through the emergency exit door. I could break the rules without consequence.
Then there was the day I walked into the bar and it was too dark and the music was too loud and the IPA didn’t taste the way it always had tasted and I thought, Has her voice always been so high-pitched. Almost squeaky? Because the craving was gone, because I didn’t need the gathering anymore. Because, in fact, this place bored me. I’m thinking about the gathering for a specific reason. There’s a man I desired, just a day ago. But the boredom came in and yanked my desire away and now I miss my desire for it all.
What a shame I don’t want him like I used to want him. What a shame I don’t gather with them every evening. What a shame I’m not like them: they don’t leave because they want to stay. What a shame I ever started studying yoga. What a shame I didn’t believe them when they said yoga would change me. What a shame I’m happier than I ever been. I say shame. I mean, blessing. Of course, I mean blessing.