This was in an airport bar, the four of them squared off and late to somewhere else, on holiday from offices, files, throwing toasts like punches: to leather jackets and chardonnay and potato skins and snow delays and new friends and old flames and every sin rearranged to seem romantic, less mistaken.
Their stems swung forward and their glasses clanked, and when the drunkest of them, a loud blond, belted out her appreciations to valium and vibrators, all four howled and clanked again and tried to remember the last time their naked bodies felt a part of God.
It was nothing like grace, this sorrow.
Then they drifted off to be swallowed by gates and planes that were dreams they would never see from the ground.
“When the Toasts Stopped Being Funny” was originally published in StoryQuarterly and appears here by permission of Steve Almond.