Tony DeLorger © 2016
In grace she sat, perched upon a stool, leaning against the mahogany bar as if it were the only thing holding her up. Her slender hands cushioned her face, elbows on polished wood, she, so delicately defined. A serene beauty glowed from her uneasy countenance, and eyes crystal and deep as if darkness had carved depth beyond her capacity. Troubles had etched lines that were not there, adding age that hadn’t yet delivered. Although beauty adorned this woman, her troubled heart beat like a pounding drum, the portentous din of a feared expectancy.
How can such raw beauty be so tainted by fear, by life, her perfect skin the allure of any man of sight, and her sleek lines enviable by any woman alive was like a single firefly in the darkest night, a light in the darkness of an even darker plight.
The bartender watched her with trepidation, feeling obliged to speak yet unable to even mouth words, wiping down his stainless steel bench and sink subconsciously, his eyes fixed on her alone. While the low light glistened in the array of liquor bottles back-lit behind him, she looked into a void of reality, the world having fallen away, buried deep in her fear.
She picked up her glass, cut, amber reflections in ice, a sip of pure oblivion, warm and stinging all the way down. She swished the liquid with icy clattering to fend off her thoughts and took another sip before lowering it to a flat stillness. She looked up to the barman, her intended smile like a baring of teeth without emotion, and spoke in a slow listless voice….’Another,’ she said.
He immediately grabbed a fine bottle from the shelf and unscrewed it, the clean amber gurgle splashing numbness to her glass. Looking up into her eye’s he asked hesitantly…’You OK?
She looked down onto the bar, a small photograph lay next to her glass. ‘No,’ she replied, without emotion but with complete conviction. The barman wasn’t game to ask, but somehow knew her pain was overwhelming, palpable. He stepped back and continued wiping, feeling inept, clumsy.
The woman, as if to gather strength of resolve, looked at the young man behind the bar. Her eye’s were filled with tears, her heart was slowing to a stall. Her lips were trembling, and trying desperately to maintain her composure she uttered…’He’s gone.’