red balloon goodbyes

A good friend of mine is leaving town. He’s found love…and it’s not here. So I have to let him go.

Friday night was his going away party and for reasons unknown to me we wound up at The Red Balloon. It was an interesting night to say the least. A lot of us had not been there before so we headed over together as we had heard the crowd was a little rough around the edges. I’m half way there when my friend Wagner calls. Wants to know where the hell we are. Her and her boyfriend are the only one’s there and they are being sized up by the locals. We’re coming I tell her.

Now don’t get me wrong…I don’t hang out with pretentious people…but this was a little outside most of our comfort zones and I’m pretty sure the people there totally thought we were pretentious.

A couple of us walk in together to a room of folding tables and chairs. There’s a bar in the corner and the locals look scary…and they are eyeing us suspiciously. We sit down and order drinks. I get lucky they have a vodka i like…the beers are miller, miller light, bud, bud light and not much more. Some of us are subject to ATM fees as this is a cash only establishment. We are still being eyed by the locals. We try to ignore the girls who look like they could lay us out with one punch and pretend not to see the ass crack hanging out or the belly hanging below his shirt and over his sweat pants. The menu consists of spaghetti o’s, tator tots and potatoe’s (trust me…every marketing manager with me found those mis-spellings and then some).

About 30 minutes in we have a pretty good crowd so we are a little less intimidated until its time to go to the bathroom. We have decided to go in pairs (we have also agreed to go to the bar in pairs) but there is really only room for one person in the two stall bathroom. Let’s just say I’m glad i like my co-workers. I guess the men’s bathroom was worse with one urinal and two stalls without doors. The stalls were kind of raised and one of my friends was just waiting to walk in on some guy taking a shit for everyone to see.

The worst part of the evening was the fact that this is one of the last “smoking is okay inside” establishments left in the area. Half way through the night I knew I was gonna pay for this. I wound up with every piece of clothing smelling (down to my bra) along with my leather purse and leather boots…I was sent straight to the shower when i got home. I think I sounded like a smoker for the better part of the weekend.

Some of the best parts of the evening consisted of:

1. The bartender running through the entire play list of Evanescence karaoke style

2. My good friend being approached by a very mean looking female local who wanted to (and succeeded at) rubbing his clean shaven bald head

3. Every woman in the joint screaming along to a karaoke version of Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know”

4. Chewey and T-Wag singing Meatloaf’s “Paradise By the Dashboard Light”

5. Else hugging me so she could rub her boobs against mine

While saying goodbye sucks, as I sat in this dive bar on Friday I realized that somehow over the past 5 1/2 years I have managed to meet some of the best people I’ll probably ever meet. It’s taken a long time for me to finally fall into a group of friends who are mine, who will always get me, who will help me to the end…but they were all there Friday night. And they may come and go, and they may be hard to hold onto sometimes and they ALL have their flaws….but their mine. And I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything. There isn’t any place I wanted to be Friday night except with them…even if it meant that in the end I had to let one of them go.

And I did. He has been a huge part of my life for 5 years and he’s one of the one’s I’ll know till the end. I’ll miss him terribly and I love him to death but he’s not going far and forever is a long time…so I can’t say he’ll be gone forever. But if he is, I have to be OK with that…because he found what he’s been looking for. And in the end, we all deserve to get what we want, right?

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