who could not take the night from her boyfriend’s grip: I’m sorry I didn’t do something. Earlier, when you were miked-up and clinging to the bass line, I’d heard the way your night was going in your voice, heard that you knew how things ought to be but somehow are not, even though we all try so damn hard.
Three times I saw him grab your arm just above the elbow, saw him hold on with white knuckles.
All I said when you walked past me, on your way inside to say goodbye to everyone earlier than you would have liked, was are you okay? and you said yes but the yes wavered. I didn’t know you well enough to say much, but I knew enough that this is what I should have said:
You are one of the good ones, one of the magnetic ones who tell stories just right. Hold on tight to the things you know. Tell him and all the ones like him to go to hell, and find one of those good ones.
Outside in the dead heat, none of us were thinking clearly. So instead I hugged you. Then you went inside to say your goodbyes, and I unlocked my bike and pedaled away.