The Queen of Buffalo

It was a homecoming of sorts. I was returning home from college for a week or so before heading back again for the rest of the summer. My friends and I went out for a night on the town. I’m sure for them it was what it was on its face…a night of drinking and hanging out…a night of laughs to crowd out anything else. For me, as most drinking occasions were those days, I had a higher, or perhaps, more desperate purpose. Enlightenment. Maybe that word sounds funny—enlightenment—but I’m guessing there are people out there who know what I mean. In fact, I’m banking on it. Sometimes in the meanest places there lies a bit of honesty that cuts through the mendacity of common logic. This is a story for us.
In those days, I hoped I might stumble into an experience that could provide some explanation to the ebb and flow of existence. Maybe now I know better but, then again, maybe not. See, for me, at that time, I never felt like home was home. I also had, as of yet, never really found home anywhere else. But I did find myself caught in between competing currents of desire and letting go and in the center of their peripatetic forces I questioned all meaning.
My friends and I stumbled are way into a club. Truly, calling it a club is too kind. The usual suspects were there. All of us, sinners and saints together at the alter seeking something just beyond our grasps. Then, from across the room I saw a girl I barely knew from high school. She came up to me, her sparkling lipstick and eye shadow glistening in the strobe lights, and offered me a free drink. She was a shot girl and worked at this fine establishment. From her slight teetering, I gathered she was slightly more enlightened at this point of the night than I was. I imagine being a shot girl was a pretty tough job for her. It’s probably the type of work that seems like fun and then slowly loses its shine. Lots of things are like that these days. The shot girl and I chatted like old friends. For a moment I held her in my arms. She offered me another drink and I took it. She looked at me with love in her eyes and for a moment I returned in kind. We were two people, half-angel and half-animal, who truly saw each other. Then, she faded into the darkness among the shadows of all the other beatific patrons. I looked at the drink in my hand, raised it to my lips, and drank in the entire universe.



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