I watched him walk away as I folded my napkin on the table, then stood up, knowing I was drunk, expecting the floor to shift and throw me off, but it didn’t. Everything was stable. I took my purse from where it hung on the back of the chair, and before going to the front I stepped over to the lobster tank against the wall. In the blue glow that bent through the water, and through the settling green mist, I saw a single large claw raised, black, open, unmoving. I felt a chill, and squatted beside the tank so my eyes were level with the lobster, and touched the glass with my fingertips, staring at it as if it were a mirror. The glass wet my fingers. There was a stale, wet odor, of water that has been lived in too long. The fluorescent light buzzed loudly. I could make out one of the lobster’s broken, static antennae, and after a moment the ridges of its curved, doomed tail. I pressed my hand to the glass, until my palm was cold and damp, and then pushed my hot face against it. I was so weak. The lobster did not move, could not move, and when Bill came with a handful of mints, he told me later, the condensation on my face made him think that I was crying.
(originally published in QuarterlyWest)