Romance, huh? Let me tell you about romance. This was, oh god, years ago, almost, what? ten years ago now? Have I been stuck in this little flyspeck of a town for ten years? Ach, horrible. Well, anyway, like I was saying. So, I’ve just moved here, and I’m broke, and I mean broke. Selling plasma for rent, that kind of broke. Thank god for food stamps, or else… well. And I’m taking the bus home from the bar one night, high in that way you only get after drinking when you’re down a pint… or two… and it was deserted, because it’s ten on a wednesday and of course everyone’s either snug in their beds or firm on a bar stool and I would be too, only, well, you know. I couldn’t face the walk home.
So I get on the bus and it’s just me and the driver and I’m slumped against the window jonesing mightly after a cigarette and we go out past the piffling lights of downtown and there’s this long stretch of road before you get to where I was living, these scrubby little woods in-between with, like, no sidewalk and no shoulder and no goddamn streetlights, so black as pitch, yeah? which is another reason I’m on the bus and not woozily, bloodlessly weaving my way home afoot, and we slide into this just thick puddle of shadow and night, and while we’re all ghostlit by the blue aisle lights I realize there’s someone behind me.
I don’t think I missed him when I got on. How could I? I swear to god he wasn’t there. Not until it got dark, anyway. So. Yeah. Okay, so I turn around and there he is, and he’s gorgeous. I can’t… look, I can’t say it right. I can tell you all about this but you won’t understand. It sounds monstrous, and maybe it… he… was, but he wasn’t. I’m telling you, he was gorgeous. Jaw-dropping, like. But he’s got these just huge horns, like, three, four feet tall, just big fuck-off horns, or antlers or, or, or… whatever you call them. And his eyes. Even in the terrible little light of those awful blue runners, they… caught it, or… were glowing, or… I don’t know. They were like sheep’s eyes, with those weird rectangle pupils and they… they were beautiful. They were beautiful. I don’t know what to tell you. I know how it sounds! But… yeah. And it was like he filled the whole end of the bus, like there wasn’t room for him and the seats and everything all at the same time, and he’d just moved them all… somewhere else to make room. He was all doubled up just to fit, and even then there was barely room for him. His horns kept scraping against the roof. And then we came out of the woods and he was gone. Not like he disappeared or, or hadn’t been there or… or anything like that. He was just gone, like he’d left. But you knew he’d been there. And, and, you know, the driver pulled the bus over and we just sat there on the side of the road for five, maybe ten minutes, and we were just dead silent. And then he kind of shrugged and started the bus back up and I went home and passed out and had… well, not forgotten it, exactly, but pushed it down, until it was just this sick sort of ache in my… stomach, I guess.
But I kept thinking about him, and I keep thinking about him, and I guess that’s why I’m still here, for all that I hate this place. I keep thinking I’ll see him again. That’s all, just see him again, just for a minute, just see him…