Thursday, July 8, 2010
All was wrong with the world.
A nice-looking girl, a nice-looking guy, sitting together but sitting alone.
I had come to my usual bar, and was by myself except for my draught – and there I saw them. They were the alonest people in the whole bar, aloner than me, maybe aloner than the whole city. Their bar stools were next to each other, their coasters close. But the girl was looking one way, the guy another. They said nothing, exchanged no smiles and made no conversation. They looked tired, aged beyond their years, irretrievably lost. And pained. Like they were sipping hangovers. The jukebox changed tunes, fervent voices sang of rock and roll and yet their heads did not sway and their fingers did not tap the counter. I kept time with my beer refills, and the minutes were short and long. Each time I looked at my mug, something had passed me by. And when I looked at them, nothing had. The girl, after many such minutes, said nothing. And the guy kept quiet. I was getting depressed by the glass. I thought of walking up to them, shaking them up and saying, “Boo!” Or if that was a bad idea, at least hitting on the girl. But I said nothing, did nothing. I just watched them, watched them watching the bar and watched them watching each other. The girl twirled her hair and the guy blinked. And when he reached for his drink, she leant forward ever so slightly. She turned her head away and he looked. She looked into his eyes and he stared.
And then the girl left, stiffly, singly, like she was always alone. The guy got up and followed. Only casually, silently, like he weren’t following. I felt for them just as silently, and had another beer. But after some fifteen minutes, she was back. And he was back. And they were back. He was smiling. He was playing with her hair and she was smiling like they were the only two people in the bar, the only two people in the whole city.
I don’t know what happened but all was right with the world.