Unhappy Hour

It is a long and teary hug at happy hour
 Between friends who share life’s moments–
 The cold and the hot, the dark and the light–
 And you can see it all in their bright faces
 When they pull apart from each other.
 So here i am in the dark corner, watching,
 The outside of the table jabbing my ribs,
 My drink taken away before i’d finished,
 My mouth dry and with no one to talk to
 And feeling quite like a girl at a middle school dance.
 And after everything that i have built up
 In the past twenty years–my marriage,
 My career, my traveling, my three young girls–
 I haven’t built up a friendship that would
 Ever offer me such a hug.
 The loneliness clings to the edges of my days
 As my girls begin to find their place in the world,
 Spending all afternoon up the street, online,
 Arranging one social event or read fest after another,
 Needing me less and less.
 And that is why this happy hour stings my soul
 As clusters share their weekend party plans,
 Their impending wedding reception,
 Their last escapade at the dancing dive bar…
 None of which have or will include me.
 And on year four in this place where my students’ love
 Fills my days with hope for a better future,
 I still have a longing, an inkling of loss
 That trails behind me, wishing i could be someone else,
 Someone worthy enough to be a friend.

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