That night was like perestroika had started. Too much oxygen, I wasn’t used to breathing so much. After the first hour of conversation I felt like the atmosphere had thawed somewhat, not entirely by any stretch, but slightly. Like my index finger, which remained firmly numb, probably due to the poor lifestyle I’d been leading, there was still a decidedly frosty atmosphere. I felt for the first time in forever I was a man with choices. That I could legitimately walk out of the room and down any street that I so desired and no negative repercussions would land at my door. A freedom of sorts, but still somehow a cold and empty one. I looked at the stars in the cold night sky to no avail. None of the hope they often impart - the kind that lulls you into the assumption that anything is possible - was landing tonight. I bought another beer, and rejoined the warm, chilly room. Wouldn’t it all be so easy if one could pack such undesirable qualities of ones personality away into a nice velvet lined balsa wood box and tuck it neatly away from prying eyes. The ugly truth hung between us like a piece of meat waiting for one of us to chomp down on and tear at. But for some reason neither of us did. Time and a mountain of patience can tame any dog it seems. After another hour the frigidity had returned as an ice shelf. An impenetrable mile thick monolith, impervious to any misguided attempt at parlance. The meat by now was tattered on the floor, and this cigarette felt like the last green leaf picked from the dead plant hanging above my head. Can't we just have fun, like we did when we were beautiful.