A Bartender Story. by SCN

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            She walked into His bar. She just wanted to see him one last time; but, prayed to her God that he wouldn’t recognize her. A self-destructive streak was immerging within her and the need to hurt her-self was rising up again. She knew that seeing him was enough to send her over the edge. Her wanting of him, only peaked by actually seeing him standing behind his bar; him in his white button up shirt and black tie on like how she remembered. Stepping slowly and carefully, she crossed the open space separating her from a hiding place; keeping her eyes on him the entire time as she walked by unnoticed. She could tell he was tired; he had on his glasses and his hair was a mess barely staying slicked back.  Her chest was pounding so hard she didn’t hear the waitress come up to her and ask her for her order. Once realizing that she wasn’t alone, she quickly ordered a Jameson with lots of water. Secretly, she hoped he would remember her drink while she sat there and watched him make it from her hidden table just outside of his eye-line.


            The sound of the ticket machine brought the bartender out of his dreamy haze. He looked at the blurred text, barely taking the time to read it.


*** ‘lots of water’***

            He chuckled to himself with wording of the printed ticket. His thoughts were immediately brought back to that autumn before ‘she’ left. He remembered the way she scrunched up her little nose as his drink of choice passed her lips. I was something that scarred into his memory forever. The last time he saw ‘that’ order it was for her. He felt good though, at least he could laugh at himself in this moment, since then he hasn’t been able to bring himself to imbibe his favorite drink. It’s been over a year since he had thought about her leaving. The leaves were turning from bright green to a dismal orange and there was a slight chill to the air the day she left; he remembered it well. He knew he couldn’t be mad at her for leaving, he knew it wasn’t their time yet. He just wished he could have talked to her one more time before she left him standing on that street corner.

            Physically he had to shake these thoughts from his head. Giving himself an extra second to look and lose him-self in that the bottle; before turning around with a heavy heart to finish pouring the order. With slight grin he added a twist of lemon in honor of her then without any other thoughts he went back to humdrum of his day warmed by the memory of her.


             The light amber liquid was placed in-front of her while she mindlessly watched him do what he did best. He held everyone who sat at his bar in the palm of his hands; the men wanted to be him; the women wanted to sleep with him. All eyes were on him and him alone; the star in a nightly one man show. Sipping her drink slowing relishing in the process, once she finished she left a generous tip for waitress; in honor of him. He had always been a big tipper and would always make fun of her for her not understanding; how things were done in the ‘real world’.

             Slowly, she stepped towards the door, stopping once to look at the man she once loved standing behind the bar. Their eyes met and locked for what felt like a life time, but in reality it was a mere seconds. The adrenalin rushed through in her veins the instant that they connected. But, his stare was just too much for her to handle. She wanted to hurt her-self only a little bit. Her vision became fuzzy; she felt out of control. She blushed, smiled, and was out of the door of that dive bar in a flash; her lungs begging for the cool air outside. Once outside she huffed and puffed till the world came back into view; she knew it was going to be painful to see what she could never have, but that was something she wasn’t expecting. It never crossed her mind that all of it would come back the second he looked at her; everything feeling she had pushed down and away overwhelmed her in that nano-second that chocolate met grassy-green. Without being able a few tears leaked out of her eyes and fell to the pavement under her feet, she took one last deep breath realizing that was something that couldn’t happen again. It was time for both of them to be happy; even if it couldn’t be with each other.


            The waitress, who had waited on the girl caught this out of the ordinary exchange and was intrigued between bartender and blonde girl. Her curiosity got the better of her. Making her lean over the bar, yell over the juke box to ask him about it.

 “What was that?” she asked while batting her eye lashes as best she could.

The bartender shook himself free from his memorized state with a shrug of his shoulders. “Nothing, just looked like someone I used to know. But, it couldn’t have been…” he finished in his head.

            He trailed off and turned away from the waitress to regain himself. He knew deep down that it was her. He had felt his heart skip a beat when their eyes met.

“It had to be her” he thought to himself. She was the only one ever to make him loose his composer. He was used to beautiful girls looking at him with bedroom eyes, but this time it had been something different; the hairs on the back of his neck stood up when the connection hit. He felt the connection when he looked into those ethereal windows. It was a feeling that he thought was gone forever and suddenly it was dripping down his spine again.

“Must have been really something to have you this shaken up?” The waitress said playing with a spare napkin that lay on the bar trying her best to act coy.

“Yeah, she was.” The bartender replied without knowing it, still looking at the now closed door that she had just walked out of.

“What happened?” the waitress asked knowing she was pressing her luck. She waited for any sign of acknowledgement, but was only met with empty eyes.

“It just wasn’t our time.” The bartender answered, before he return back to work; trying anything to push all the forgotten memories of her out of his head. The one thing he couldn’t do was; wipe the smile from his face that was left by the possibility that he had just seen her again. Even though it wasn’t much it was more than he could have asked for.

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