I'm in a bar. I'm here with friends. But I am alone. Do you know what I mean? She was supposed to come, too, but she never does. I have grown accustomed to that, the promises freely made without any possibility of them ever being kept. Of course she isn't here. Just because she said she would be, why would I expect her to be?

But I am with friends. And we are laughing and having fun. They ask about her several times. What can I tell them? Don't get your hopes up just because she said she'd come. It means nothing.

I'm here with friends. But I'm lonely. And because I'm lonely I notice the lonely people in the bar. I notice lots of people, but mostly I see the lonely people. I see people who are not young, not looking their best anymore, not where they thought they'd be at this point in their lives, sitting at the bar dressed in clothes that probably used to look good on them, but now have odd bulges in places they didn't used to have odd bulges. Their hair is done up, but somehow it doesn't matter that much. It doesn't shine. Their faces are smiling as they look around, but the smiles don't ring true. They are the lonely people. They are the people who may have once been married, but aren't anymore. They have the look of "how did I get here? I am not supposed to be here at this point in my life. I am not prepared for this." Others, I suspect, have never been married and are running out of chances. They may not look so terrible, but they have a funny face, or a severe limp, or a speech problem. Something is wrong that makes it harder to find someone. They may not be bad people, but they never get chosen for the team, so to speak. No one has chosen them to love.

There is one girl here, I can't tell why she's here. She's not old. She's beautiful and clearly very desirable. She's not young enough that I expect her to be single, either. She's out where everyone can see her, but doesn't seem comfortable the way a single girl looking to be noticed does. She goes and sits with a white haired man that I think is too old to be her man. He might even be her father. I wonder briefly about her, but move on. Later it occurs to me how odd it is that I didn't pay much attention to her. In years past I would have noticed her and noticed whether or not she seemed to care at all about me. But I didn't this time. I didn't care if she cared about me. I guess I just assumed she didn't. And I didn't pay attention to whether or not she did. I realize now that I have been this way for a long time now. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I suspect that it is a bad thing, an indication that my state of mind is not exactly a hopeful one.

2 lonely single women come over to our table and say that they want to join us. We seem to be having fun and they want to be at the fun table. We tell them that is fine with us, but they don't join us. They laugh and joke a little and then go back to their table. I don't notice who they are sitting with beyond the fact that they are with a large group of people.

After several hours we leave and go to a second bar. It isn't terribly crowded, unlike the first bar. There is a regular group of people here who I suddenly realize are always here every single time I come. We sit down and I look around. These people have been drinking for awhile. Karaoke is going on, but not many people are getting up to sing. My friends are talking to me, but its loud in here compared to the previous place and I can't hear them as well. Talking to anyone who isn't right next to me is almost impossible. I start to look around.

There are a lot of women here with big butts. I notice this right away. Only one girl here when we came in could be described as slim. All the rest are semi-short and have large butts. None of them are what you'd call petite. The one girl who is slim is what some people call a 'butterface' - everything about her is attractive but her face. It isn't that her face is ugly. It just is ... not pretty. That's the best I can describe it.

Most of the karaoke singers aren't too terrible. But there is this one girl who just never seems to hit the right note. I suppose she's tone deaf. I don't know. She gets up and sings songs that are hard, but she isn't talented as a singer, so she slaughters them. A normal person would stop after the first bad performance, but she never does. She's singing with all her heart and soul, but it's awful. She has a friend with her. Her friend begins going up and singing alongside her. It's doubly awful. One of my friends asks "why are there two of them up there? It's just worse."

I suspect that her friend is trying to be supportive, seeing as her friend is such a bad singer. She takes half the heat off her friend by singing with her. Not that anyone is booing or anything, but just in case she's up there with her friend acting as a human shield. I see one or two people laughing and sticking their fingers in their ears. But when I look up onstage to see if the girl has noticed this, she has her eyes closed and is singing as hard as she can. She doesn't see anything. She's singing her heart out.

A pretty girl comes in the front doors, along with a younger guy who is clearly with her. The girl walks up to Butterface Girl and says something. They both laugh and talk for a few moments. After that, I never see the girl again. She just disappeared. Before she leaves, though, I notice that she is dressed identically to the Butterface Girl. I wonder if they are sisters, or maybe close friends. Whatever the case, she didn't stick around here for long.

The two women that asked if they could sit with us at the previous bar are here, too, and this time they come and sit down with us. They seem to take a liking to two of my male friends. They smile a lot and laugh at whatever the two guys say. Then they invite the guys to play a game over in the back of the bar. So the guys go. The girls pay a great deal of attention to the guys, laughing and smiling continuously. This begins to aggravate the guys' wives, who are fully aware of what is going on and aren't happy about it. They remark about the 2 women who seem to have an interest in their husbands and eventually go and retrieve their men.

It's a strange night. It's winter but it's been hot and humid the past 2 days. It's even a little uncomfortably warm and sticky, despite being night time and the dead of winter. A storm is coming. According to the news it is a bad storm. I can hear the thunder rumbling in the distance as I write this. No one paid any attention to the storm, though. Everyone was busy trying to have fun, or trying to find someone to love them.

I look around these bars and I see people who just want to have a good time. And I see people who are lonely and looking for love. I don't want to be one of those people. I don't want to be out in bars all alone and lonely, hoping to find someone who will care about me.  I don't want to get drunk and sing karaoke with all my heart and soul because my heart is broken and I don't know what else to do. I don't have a friend to stand up there with me and try to cover for my bad voice by singing along with me. And it would be bad. Trust me on this one. It would be very, very bad.

I used to go into places and notice beautiful girls and whether or not they gave two shits about me. These days all I notice are all the lonely people. And I feel like one of them.
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