don’t

A few of those Cherry Blossom cocktails in the basement of the Japanese restaurant, and Carla is ready to roll, ready to sing, on stage, in front of all of you. Yes, you. You know who you are, and you are here to listen, here maybe to sing along with her, if Bacchus inspires you properly, too.

Carla has waited all her life to do this, karaoke some sort of dream-come-true for a would-be torch singer. She has handed off the little slip of paper to the man behind the wall and walks onto the stage like Judy Garland singing covers. She waves.

“I tell myself… what’s done is done,” Carla interprets this, dramatically signing “all done” as she sings.

“I pick the pieces off the floor…”

This is terrible. She continues, stomping and slurring by the bitter fade, “Oh dear God, it must be him, it must be him, or I shall die…”

Carla’s friend convinces her that she really should not have another, loads her into the car and drives her back home. Carla starts to cry because her friend loves her so much.

It is morning, and here is Carla, cringing as the telephone rings–no it is distinctly not him, thank God. It is a new member of the fan club, it seems, laughing voices asking about the night out as Carla stalks around the apartment, walks past that little black dress turned out halfway, tossed on the back of the chair, one heel beneath it, the other undoubtedly dropped outside the palace sometime round midnight.

Don’t.

Oh weary friends, don’t pour your heart out so freely when you are aching, or you may never get it back.

Don’t sing that Patsy Cline. Don’t climb up to that microphone in some small Parisian theater and call yourself a sparrow. Just don’t.

Don’t book your flight for tonight on Expedia, hotel included. Don’t wander those lonely streets of some city you always wanted to visit, just to forget. Don’t.

Don’t bungee jump, write songs, join a dating site. Just don’t. Don’t seek adventure for the sake of forgetting, because you never will now, you know.

You will think only of him, then, every time you turn the corner, dream, want. Yes, you will remember the night they all remember, the night you belted out that Vicki Carr in a dingy karaoke bar, and staggered around your apartment laughing a little too much, singing into a dildo until you lay down for just a moment, ceiling spinning, woke later with the mock microphone beside you, the garters hanging empty, stockings at your feet, lights on, a massive headache, and work the next day.

You call in sick, and nurse yourself with hot tea, hot baths, masturbation and tears, and somehow, in laughter, it still feels as though it will never be all right, even though it really is all right. But now you’ve done it: now you will never forget.

So don’t.

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