"The most important thing to remember is that i started the fire.I am the one who decided it would be a great idea to pour bacardi 151 on the open grill at the party. I smashed the bottle in the confusion. I spent the rest of my new years eve pulling shards of broken glass out of my face with safety scissors. I wrote a letter to the manufacturers of Bacardi explaining that i didnt take too kindly to the fact that their alcohol was so flammable and that their bottles broke so easily. They wrote me back with a letter stating that the flame resistant cap on the bacardi 151 bottle only worked when the liquid was in the bottle. I stared at that letter for a long time trying to figure out what it meant. I think it meant i had a drinking problem." My date from across me drops her drink to the concrete. Maybe it wasn't the best way to break the ice on a first date but i have no inclinations towards moderation in conversation. She says to me in a hush tone, "Maybe we shouldn't be at a bar". I disagree by ordering another drink. She was feathered in fishnets down her sleeves and eyeliner in delicate circles running down her blue iris. A few raggedy patches were sewn into her jacket which hung like a black shadow on her shoulders, draped in opacity. I asked her to meet me at this dive if she wanted to talk more about literature. "The scars healed but i still cannot walk into brackenridge triage without remembering the way blood stands out so well on linoleum when its all lit up with flourescents. Hospital staff dont like it when you tell them you spent the last 8 days trying to find out if the imprints on your wrists are from some strange bondage encounter or a hospital bracelet. Or somehow both." She palms her phone and pretends to take a call. I dont mind. I take a bar match and strike it against the back of the booklet. A yellow blue flame whispers out in elliptical carbon reactions to the atmosphere. Looking at the mini fire i began to wonder how that fire at the grill got so out of hand. I thought that rum would taste good on steaks. People pour alcohol on cooking food right? SO why not bacadri 151 on an open grill? I studied this dame against the power lit backdrop of the austin downtown skyline. THe chase bank building with its crescent circular mandala like logo looms behind her ears and encloses an almost silver halo above her head, a thousand feet away. Shes looking away, maybe im boring her. Usually i can tell by the way they stand, impatiently turning their back to the wind. Doing all the deliberate and unconscious gestures that women can carry out with malicious grace. I search my brain for something to say to ease the moment. I open my mouth as a strange guy is approaching us. It seems from his manner of walking that he knows her. Its all revealed to me in that ridiculous pace that says "Im not swaggering, i walk like this all the time" Her eyes fill with a saving light and her silver necklaces catch a relfection from the overheads and shines a refractory light in my eyes. IT was gods flashlight saying to me "Nice try". They exchange some kind of hellos, i think. WHere did people learn to give eachother salutations with such vague underpowered statements as "SO good to see you", "Always a pleasure", "YOure looking wonderful." When i saw her initially at the bar i took her by the hands i quietly explained that "Im afraid i might inebriate myself and divulge some repressed emberassing information about myself. I know i picked this bar as our place to meet, but really the amount of people here makes me nervous. YOu're a woman right? Of course you are. Does the natural chaotic rhythm of the universe ever make you feel like gravity is earths way of maintaining a continous love affair with humans. Gravity is the earths pickup line. What can i get you to drink?" I mean lets be frank and honest with eachother about what we are thinking. I could have just said glad to see you. I wasnt that glad to see her. I was only taking some suggestions from a psychiatrist about exposure therapy to overcome my social anxiety towards women. Expose yourself to social situations that normally baffle and slowly it will go away. The guy and this dame are still exchanging bland small talk about traffic or the weather or politics or the price of bread or the price of gas or the price of meaningless conversation. I guess i bought this one so i get this one free as well. Two boring surface level conversationalists for the price of one. I get bored watching the dome of night buildings around the three of us illuminate her eyes like 50 story candles, all driven by the wattage of the cities power supply. I get bored watching this guy empty his vacant life unto this dame with the kind of interaction you have with your barber when hes cutting your hair. You just talk to fill the time youve paid for here. Thats not why i came here. I came for exposure therapy at $4 a glass. I meander something to her about catching a yellow cab back to south austin becuase i think now that this guy is here "you can enjoy some meaningless drivel leeking out of him like condensation on a pitcher of beer. Drink in eachother. I hope he entertains you with his extensive knowledge of popular music and american idol." I start turning away but she grabs me by the collar. Now here is a delicate moment. I had no intention of interacting with this girl on any level that involved direct contact. Eye to eye across a table, that is as far as i had planned. When her hands brushed my neck i felt the sense of defensive belief and intellectual shielding completely disarm in me. She followed through by taking my hand and pulling it to her waist allowing me to hold her there. She asks me if they can "share a cab with me back to south austin?" I was completely undone. An unwound ball of electric yarn.I agreed against my better judgement, A cabs doors unfold in front of me and i push to the far end against the window. The two acquainted friendlies get in next to me. I do remember the reading on the pay meter of the taxi when the two of them start making out. Her legs pressed against me tightly as their sounds of interaction heighten. For whatever reason she was gripping my hand tightly as she was kissing him. They kissed the same way they spoke to eachother. Almost no zeal or passion. Just informal interplay. No more effort than someone would put into filling up their car with gas. They pulled at eachother they way dull magnets attract when they've lost most of their charge. The laws of attraction can only go so far. I get a little out of place at the corner of oltorf and lamar so i let myself out. When you step out of a moving car, you wanna do it when the car is driving straight. Tuck your hands over your head and prepare to roll. When i left the moving taxi, it was in mid turn so i rolled into the sidewalk curb. Cheek first. A business card from my front shirt pocket flies out in front of me and lands under a streetlight. It's from my psychiatrist. The slogan on the card reads "Exposure is the pathway to healing" I wondered if exposure to gravel wounds and concrete burns led to healing as well.