Gods preserve us, I thought, I'm inspired to poetry.
Clamping down on awkward meter and verse, I glance down at the glass of whisky on the table in front of me. It's there, I tell myself, more for colour than for intoxication.
Such a silly mood, I think. It's just a night alone, no longer or darker than any other. I lift the glass, watching the light filter through the amber liquid and inhale the scent of it, placing it down without taking a drink.
I knew I didn't want to be alone tonight. I'd planned to have company, but company cancelled too late for other arrangements to be made. Dinner out, alone, silent in the loud bar, my beer, my book and more food than I strictly needed. At least the waitress was pretty, I tell myself. And she sat down with me, if only for a moment. There was, I think, a spark that could have been fanned into something more. A candle flame, tentative and shining in a dim room. I scowl at my own pretentious phrasing. Haven't I got enough candle flames? Torches, camp fires. Hidden infernos. A sudden craving for a cigarette surprises me. I don't smoke. I glance down at the gut sticking out over my waist, and think about the white hair I found in my beard last week. Presumptuous old man!
I used to think, when I was younger, that my heart was like a thing made of paper. Every time it leapt for someone, I imagined that a small piece was being torn from that paper heart, and tossed away, never to return. I'm older now, and both less cynical and more. Love isn't a shrinking paper thing. It's not something you run out of. It's more like a fire. It's something that burns as long and hot as it can. When you use a flame to light another, the original loses nothing. It still burns just as bright. It doesn't last forever - nothing does. Love, like fire, lasts as long as its host. Burning until it's consumed all it can.
I pause, reflecting on the words lettered across my mind's eye. Well, at least it's not poetry.