“He shoved her?”
“Yeah, just shoved her.”
“Was it like playful?”
“No, he just shoved her.”
I can’t write this story because the person who told it to me plans to write it herself.
She told me this over a beer at one of those fancy places where they train the servers to talk about hops and malt and Belgium.
An encounter at a show. An angering man sidling up to a crowd. Displays of grace rewarded with aggression, verbal play-mounting. A man who flirted like a puppy snaps. A man who managed to isolate and discomfit each person in the group no matter their position in the cascade of sexualities of my friend’s crowd.
Unprompted, he bragged of the sexual conquest that took his marriage. He identified the woman he hurt only as his wife, her relationship to him the only identity he allowed her. She had it better. He called his partner in infidelity only by her age.
“Why did he think you would be impressed by the fact she was 19?”
“I don’t know.”
“And all he said was her age, not like if she was hot or what she did?”
It was an angering story the more time and distance you get away from it becomes a sad one.
And when ignored, he shoved a woman in my friend’s group. He shoved her hard enough to let her know his aggression, soft enough to couch it as an accident or friendly horseplay.
“What did the security guy do?”
“He just gave him a look, like ‘One more time and I’m throwing you out.’ And he just shut down.”
“I love bouncers.”
I won’t continue telling the story told me over fine-hewn beer. It’s my friend’s story to tell.
This then, is the story of the story. It’s a story about conversations in diminishing light as rain splats on concrete outside. It’s the story of the distance and time that turns an angering encounter into a sad one, about the grace granted a sad man far beyond what he deserves.