she was relaxing, just enjoying the music with her friend. trying to take it easy, doctor's orders. one of the singers was a friend of theirs. he stopped by to talk between sets.
as they started their second set, she thought about how much she would rather be dancing with the music, drink in hand. vodka, of course. but the pain kept her seated, only standing to stretch on occasion. and the injections made drinking vodka unwise.
before she saw him, she heard him. his distinctive voice. projecting across the room to greet the band.
it wasn't the first time they'd run into each other since. she'd seen him only a week before. things had still been strained. her friends had bought her one too many drinks. and she had done the unthinkable. left him a not-sober message. asking if they could go back to being friends, since it was obvious he wanted nothing more.
he had actually responded to her message. insisting they were friends and that everything was great.
his insistence made her feel even stranger now. she turned around to talk to him. despite the butterflies rising within her. despite her lack of liquid courage.
he came over. hugging her friend before her. the nervousness present again. perhaps it was projected again. the conversation awkward. he seemed to bounce around the bar from friend to acquaintance, as if he were the ball in a pinball game.
her pain grew. she remembered she had advil just outside in the car. she returned to find him comfortably talking with her friend. the awkwardness only seeping back in when she joined the conversation.
he teased her about taking her "drugs." he knew about the car accident. he knew about her pain. he said he was sorry she couldn't drink. she knew he meant he was sorry about her pain, the injections, all of it. but he couldn't say it. not then. their exchanges forever altered from the lingering, easy-going conversations they used to have over a cup of coffee.
he seemed to be putting on a show. hoping for attention. flirting with anyone. feet from where she now stood swaying with the music, thanks to the drugs.
she wasn't sure if he was trying to make her jealous, or trying to show he really didn't care about her. perhaps neither. in any case she found it didn't bother her. not that her feelings for him were completely gone. just that her friendship with him was more important to her right now.
the cozy bar had emptied considerably. the band played a cover of her favorite song. she danced and sang along. completely lost in the music. she wasn't sure where he'd gone. not that she had been keeping track, of course.
as she and her friend were discussing leaving, he walked up to talk again. this time to her. she teased him. they laughed. she's not sure if she was imagining the change. but the conversation seemed easier. more like before.
when he left, he gave her another hug. a lingering embrace. one with feeling behind it. a feeling that seemed a bit more than just friendly to her. but she quickly put that thought out of her mind. he told her it was really great to see her. she replied with a heartfelt you, too.
that night she had another dream. not about waking up in his arms as she once had dreamt, but about sitting on a sunny patio, enjoying coffee and wonderful conversation with him. the dog napping in the patches of sunlight at their feet.