You Can Always Be You Again: A Free Flash Fiction

He grumbles at me from across the bar, over the foamy top of the beer he slides to me. He gives me the once-over: fit body, fashionably fitted clothes, smiling teeth fitted with white caps. “You can’t be young forever. But you can always be you again.” And then he’s moving down the bar.

I take a quick drink of the microbrew to cover my discomfort. What was that bit of new-age pap supposed to mean? Like all the good lines – and damn, I’ve fallen for enough of them – it talks a good talk, but it’s uncomfortably vague when it comes to specifics.

The barkeep slides two drinks to a young woman. She is dressed bedroom slutty, and though she’s ten years too young, I think about hitting on her even though she’s with someone. I catch the end of it: ”…be you again.”

Her eyes get wide, but he’s already giving two drinks to a couple of douchebros arguing football. ”…be you again.” Then it’s the guy sliding his wedding band on and off. ”…be you again.”

I watch the young woman tell her date that she wants to take it slower. The douchebros confess, sobbing on each other’s shoulders, how sports reminds them of their fathers. The man with the ring is on the phone, telling someone he loves them.

The barkeep is in front of me, gesturing to my empty glass. “‘Nother?”

I smile. The question is vague, but for once I think I know what it means.

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