I told Sabina to keep the money. The car, now parked in my pokey little garage was not only a write off, it was a target on my head. I had to sell it, or better yet throw it off a cliff - eliminate the link and collect the insurance. Sabina didn't laugh at that joke, she just looked thoughtfully at her coffee. Strangely my job, the only thing that had made sense and mattered to me all these months became irrelevant. Almost forgotten. It wasn't until I listened to my bosses frantic voicemails asking where the hell I'd been that I started thinking about the reports that were due on Tuesday. About that little cubicle. The knick knacks on my desk. The numbly suppressed panic of my co workers. I was so worried about making it feel like a good fit that I didn't bother acknowledging that it wasn't. I just loved the purpose of it all but now it seemed... redundant. Stupid even. I don't give a shit about the money. I'd rather choose to spend my time with nothing then waste another second at a desk doing something I don't care about. Letting my being bleed into nothingness, lest it run down my corporate value. But if I'm doing this I'm doing it right. No internet. There's no point in walking to the edge of truth just to look down at a screen and work out how to condense what I find. No more distractions, I need to be sharp - painfully present. When Mark shared my photos I allowed the palpable shame to twist the finger of blame onto me. But I am not to blame. He'll be held responsible and learn that. These thoughts of revenge can't be healthy... but then how healthy can it be to keep everything bottled up, scared to really feel how deep this cut is. You notice the first time you lose it, that ability to try as truthfully as possible, as honestly as possible to let it all in. Otherwise what's the point? Sabina breaks my train of thought "I hope I've inspired some trust in you." "You've inspired more than that."
We decide to meet at the butterfly bar later that week. Though I'd never heard of the place, it felt like home as soon as I walked through the black double doors covered in Día de Muertos graffiti. The dark narrow alley to the bar is lined with hundreds of ancient candles. Towering wax sculptures light up the layers of faded posters on the exposed brick, pure testaments of time. The voices and music grow louder as I approach the red archway in the distance. I breathe deeply to slow my pulse before I cross the threshold and step into a bar that feels like the retreat of an eccentric collector awash in a strange beautiful warm glow. Huddles of striking people speaking low are rhythmically punctuated with bursts of laughter and a four piece band lazily improvising in the corner. I scan the room and see Sabina sitting alone with an untouched beer. She looks up and smiles at me, then looking past me her face suddenly lights up in joyful recognition. My heart does a backflip as I turn in happy bewilderment only to instantly feel sick as I see Mark walking toward me. We lock eyes in a horrible moment of acknowledgement, and he keeps walking as if I were a stranger. I turn to watch them embrace, joke, kiss. She gestures over to me lovingly, and I see the colour run from his face as he glances over. She looks at me strangely, emphatically gesturing for me to join them. My legs feel like cement. I smile weakly and make a drinking motion before stumbling towards the bar. This will buy me some time. Time? For what!? That's the love of her life. The man we've been planning against. "Double jameson and dry please." Holy shit. Ok. I'll just leave. If I follow the bar she won't see me... "Hey stranger!" Sabina grabs my shoulders from behind and spins me around. "Are you alright?" "Yeah. No. Not really. Ah this sucks..."