I couldn’t believe it. I had known Clancy for eighteen years, since we were toddlers, and I never thought he’d be the one to suggest a bar. At least, not until we walked in. The Geosphere was one of the only places near Spegrock U that didn’t feel like a college bar. I mean, it was in a floating dome almost brushing against the atmosphere. Our other friend Kane had gotten us in. Kane could pull connects out of nowhere, and it was super weird.
Anyway, we walked in, and it was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I could see the stars above, and the city lights below, like we were inside of a glass ornament. We lost Kane as soon as he got through the door. As expected, he was talking to every girl he passed.
Clancy was wearing a dark gray mock neck and a black blazer, with the legs of his pants draped down to his ankles, where beneath his dress shoes were sharp enough to crack the glass in this place. It’s funny, I hadn’t taken much notice of him growing up. He was just Clancy, Kane’s brother, and to him I was just Lana, Kane’s best friend. But ever since we had gotten to college, and I started seeing him less and less, I noticed when he was there, and I really noticed when he wasn’t.
“Such an idiot,” he muttered under his breath.
“Sorry. I was talking about Kane,” he scoffed.
“You can’t mean that! You two are the smartest people here.”
“There are no books for Kane’s kind of stupid.”
“You don’t want to meet someone? Isn’t that the reason guys go to bars?”
“It’s not the reason I wanted to come here.”
“So what is?”
“So do you want to sit at the bar or a booth or…?” How else was I supposed to respond to that?
“Right, sorry Lana. We could get a table along the wall. Probably a nicer view.”
“Look at you. I didn’t think you noticed those types of things.”
He clearly didn’t like that one, because he went quiet on me. We took our seat and stared at the drink menus. Truthfully, we hadn’t gone out to a bar since I came of age, so I didn’t know what to get. The stuff they made here was a lot stronger than anything we mixed together at one of Kane’s parties.
“What would you recommend?” I asked.
“We could always order that gross Roktarian stuff you got that one time from your dad’s cabinet,” he could barely get through the thought without laughing.
“You know, you love that story a lot more than I do, Clancy.”
“How could I not? I don’t think I’ve ever seen you that drunk. Of course, the casualties of that night probably didn’t like it as much as I did either. Poor Kane never got a date with Vanessa Bigsby again.”
“Hey, to be fair, that was just a minor hiccup in the story of Kane’s love life. That’s a disaster even the officers at BOARD couldn’t put a stop to.”
“A fair point, my brother does seem to make poor decisions in that department. Yet you’ve stuck by him through it all. Why haven’t the two of you dated?”
“Me and Kane? You’re out of it,” I kept it cool, but my heart sank at those words. I didn’t want to talk about me and Kane. I wanted to talk about a future with Clancy. I felt so stupid, but at the same time, being there with him, it all felt so possible.
“Why? My brother is obnoxious, but he’s an engineer, and one of the best. He’s going places and you’re amazing. You’re really funny, patient, and you understand people. Those are three things I could never manage.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.”
He cut me a glare, and then we shared in an awkward silence.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to push anything. I was just curious.”
“It’s fine. It really is. Sometimes it just feels like you don’t see me the way I see you.”
“You’re not the first person to tell me that,” By now he was staring out the window, looking down at the skyline. “That’s what I meant earlier. Perspective. You’ve known me for most of our lives. We always did the same things. We went to the places I felt were safe, did the things I thought were fun. I just wanted to try something different. Change my vantage point.”
“Wow. That’s surprisingly human of you, Clancy. But I think you might be taking things a bit too seriously. We’re here. We’re together. Isn’t that the most important thing?”
“What do you mean?”
“I guess for me, I’ve never really thought about this stuff too much. It’s always been more important to just take these moments as they come. It’s fine and well to want to grow and improve, but I think you put too many restrictions on the way you live. I get it. You’re a biologist, and everything feels like a hard science for you. But look at your brother. He’s out here tonight having fun, because he’s not letting logic or reason impede his ability to celebrate the things around him. Or the people.”
“You’ve got my attention,” he said, the contemplative expression on his face warping into a smile. “We could always leave this place and rejoin the world. I’d be even happier if you could show me how.”
“You’d probably be hopeless without me, right?”
Maybe that’s what made us work. I mean, that day was almost like any other. Sure, the bar was new, but the rest wasn’t. Clancy always watched Kane. I always watched Clancy. Kane always watched whatever brought him joy. It was just another instance of us walking toward the door, with uncertainty laid before us. But as Clancy intended, we looked on with new perspective.