I went to see Alex. I had a hard time meeting her gaze. A. was there.
I looked at his blue eyes and pudgy face. He looked away. B was there.
He looked morose behind his paper with his back to the wall.

I got a good look at Alex’s hands. They look like the hands of a thinker who has no time to reflect.

I don’t think it is good for us to see each other for drinks Alex said.
You behave like this stripper I know who only will see me at her club because she
wants my money and doesn’t want to be my friend, I said.
That’s pretty low Alex said. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings. I could care less about a dollar tip.
We went beyond that kind of clientele relationship I said. We became friends.
Oh please I have been with so many women since I was with you. Don’t flatter
I’m done with this conversation Alex said. I don’t want to see you.
Burn your bridges I said.
You just did said Alex. If you wanna be friends you wouldn’t be giving me an ultimatum
and you would just hang out with me here. You obviously want to be more than friends.
No I said. I don’t. I want to look out for you how you did with me. I like to see you elsewhere so I can hear about how you are. Your life interests me. We talked about our lives. You gave me good advice. Why are you being so tough on me? Wasn’t I kind to you? I don’t want anything from you but to be happy. You have a really tough side. You don’t have to be like that. I feel devoted to you. You’re right I have feelings for you and it hurts that you don’t.
Well I learned my lesson Alex said. Sorry for torturing you.
Yeah you shouldn’t torture me I said.
Let’s not be so reckless ALex said. Just hang out with me here and we’ll see how it goes. I can’t be any different than I am. You are the one who is harsh.
Do you not have feelings for me anymore I said.
Obviously I don’t want more than to be friends Alex said.
Okay I said.
I’m sorry Alex said. I’m too open minded I guess at times. I value your friendship.You know where to find me if you can handle being friends. I’m not in control of my emotions so sorry.

Amy’s hands are on my guns in the dark. I want to offend her sense of place and time.
I was thinking about you biting my jaw and cheek Amy said.
Susie has post its in the books lined along the dinning room wall. The book marks are booby traps. I lost my index finger to one.
I’m an arsonist I said. Opera and forest fires awaken my desire.
Your anger scares me Amy said.
The anger is why I don’t get an erection I said. I try like everyone else to love and to be loved. I don’t feel grateful like some of the lonely folk I have met.
I imagine it will take a long time for you to fall in love again Amy said.
She has had many lovers after her second divorce. She exfoliates lovers.
When was the last time you lived for a man and not a peaceful glass of wine I said.
Three years ago Amy said.
Are you saying you are susceptible to me Susie said.
I think she has a better chance than myself to be happy, even though she feels
waylaid by middle aged men with broken blood vessels and skin cancer that take Viagra, younger men that live in fear of being demoted by older men, and the pride in her work that is compromised by impaired men who mooch on women.
Are you envious of folks with happy childhoods said Amy.
No I said.
I like you but I’m afraid Amy said. You feel unsafe.
Amy wants to dump me for someone who wants to settle down. She has been looking
for someone for three years. I’m only looking for solace.