Jessie is a friend. Those four simple words sent me into a state of drunken denial as I prepared to gulp down my last shot of Jameson of the night.
The four words echoed in my ears as I scanned the bar for any sight of Jessie. The majority of the patrons had dispersed, leaving only the clingers, the lonely, and the too drunk to function. I glanced at my good friend Alicia, who also happened to be my ride and the woman who moments earlier had bluntly informed me of the fact I'd grown oblivious to. Alicia had switched to drinking water hours before, not needing alcohol to act as her truth serum. Did I need more Jameson? No, but I was not going to swallow a bitter pill without a powerful chaser.
I reached for the shot glass. Grasping it firmly between my thumb and index finger, the vessel containing the nectar of the Irish Gods was ready for its final journey of the night. A final look around the bar indicated to me that Jessie was already gone, most likely slipping out the back door with her latest conquest. In one swift motion, her void was replaced by the smooth taste of whiskey. All part of the spoils of being relegated to a friend zone littered with the bodies of the broken men that came before me.
Wiping away from my lips the last remnants of liquid courage, I turned to Alicia. "Ready."
Alicia smiled from the corner of her mouth, the same smile Joey gave Dawson when she pitied him all those years on "the Creek". Alicia was more than my friend. She was my confidant, my sidekick, my partner in crime. Most importantly, she was my hero. How else could you describe someone that so expertly put up with me constantly ending up in the same situations?
A wave of nausea suddenly attacked my body. Bleary eyed, my blue eyes met the eyes of Alicia. She gently placed her hands on my knees. I cocked my head, sighing. "What?"
"Let it go," replied Alicia, her serene voice beckoning.
"I'm tired of this always happening. Jessie was supposed to be more than a friend," I whined.
"I know the feeling."
Alicia's hands were still on my knees. The room spinning, my eyes once again found her eyes. For the first time, the windows of the soul showed me what I'd been missing. I am Alicia's Jessie. A look of recognition must have crossed my face because Alicia smiled broadly. She wasted little time in cupping my cheeks with her palms and, placing her lips on mine, kissed me for what seemed like eternity. The is probably moot, but Alicia was right about Jessie being a friend. One can only hope Alicia accepted my reciprocal kiss as the first step to me acknowledging her infinite wisdom. For once in my life, the two a.m kiss was not just a kiss, but a beginning.