ANOTHER ONE

“Another one,” I said.

“I think you’ve had enough,” the bartender was cleaning a glass, looking at the television screen nonchalantly.

“Five beers isn’t enough,” I exclaimed with a smile. The bartender turned away from the screen and sighed.

“Look. I really like you. You seem like a nice guy. But you’re wasting your money. You’ve been here six days a week, every week, for the last month and a half. And I appreciate the business you’ve given us. But you’re wasting your life away here. You need to-“

“If you’re going to talk my ear off, at least let me wash it down with another blonde.” I said. The bartender let out another long sigh. He stopped cleaning his glass, and walked over to the tap. He took a deep breath, and put a glass to the tap. The liquid bubbled slightly as it splashed into the glass. It foamed beautifully, like a graceful wave crashing over the beach.

“Look, I don’t want to be rude, but you’re life is more valuable than this. Why don’t we talk about you?” The bartender closed the tap and walked the beer over to me. It had a perfect froth, the kind one can only do after pouring thousands of glasses.

“What about me?” I said with indifference.

“Why don’t we start with why you’re here.”

“I’ve already told you why I was here. My girl—”

“I’ve heard your bullshit story about your girl that you’ve told half the people who have walked in here before,” the bartender brought both hands down on the counter with a look of annoyance, “Besides, even if the girl was really important to you, 6 weeks is quite a while to drink yourself through your tears.”

“What would you know?” I looked down, drawing circles in the wood countertop.

“Well, I know that break ups suck. But I also know that one girl doesn’t ruin a person.” I looked up at the bartender. He had a warm smile.

“You didn’t have a girl like this.” I took a long drink from my glass. It was cool and crisp, with a light flavor that reminded me of hike through the mountains in June.

“Maybe not. What else is wrong in your life?” The bartender pulled up his own stool and eyed me with curiosity.

“I don’t know.”

“Now come on, spit it out. Did you lose your job?”

“Yeah.”

“Well see, there’s your problem. You’re stuck. You lost your job. You lost your girl. You’re probably feeling like the world has ended. And because of that, you’re letting yourself be consumed by self-hatred. But you have nothing to hate about yourself. You’ve just—”

“Look, I appreciate your time,” I stood up sharply “but I didn’t come here to be lectured.” I downed my glass and threw a few bills on the counter, then turned and walked through the doors. The look on his face was surprised. As I passed through the doors I sighed. Maybe he’s right. I felt my shoulders slump. But if I can’t even take advice from a nice guy like that, what kind of piece of shit am I? My eyes glazed over. Eventually, I came to a sign that read The Boar’s Head Tavern. I looked around. The tavern looked warm and inviting. And I could hear the friendly sounds of glasses clinking together. I pulled the door open and walked in.

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One thought on “ANOTHER ONE

  1. Wow- your blog reminded me of a childhood memory….
    For many summers, when I was a young girl, 6-9 years of age, I visited some close relatives in Massachusetts. It was a long flight from California to the East Coast. The older couple that I stayed with were kind-hearted people During the day, they mainly watched television and we chit-chatted a little bit. But at night, they would visit bar after bar after bar, over the course of a 4-5 hour stretch. At each bar-stop they would introduce me to the crowd of people and everyone would cheer for the young girl visiting from “Cali.” Then a waitress would deliver a Shirley Temple for me to sip and eat cherries happily, while the adults talked loudly and interrupted each others words like young children playing. I observed that they used their hands and arms in large and dramatic ways to place self-righteous exclamation points on the thoughts they expressed…. Because everyone, at every bar knew my relatives they would let me sit at the bar on the very large stools. I felt special. At each bar, the older male relative would slug down several drinks and over the course of these evenings, I would notice that he walked less steady over time and in zig-zag formation. My childhood laughter was often triggered when he would sing loudly, basically proclaiming that he was the most important human being on the planet, as he used his wife as a crutch to walk in and out of each bar. At the end of the evening, when we arrived back at their home, he would stagger and fall onto his queen bed, mumbling slurred words that I tried but couldn’t understand…I remember thinking that he was lucky that he was an adult because he didn’t have to brush his teeth before bedtime. This was my first association with alcohol and “curious” behaviors…. I found out, many years later, that his wife would use water to dilute the hard alcohol he consumed at home prior to those evening adventures…. She was trying her best to slow the process of damage to his liver; which eventually led to his passing…

    Like

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