The Runaway

010911

  The bar is unreal, at least compared to what I’m used to. There is a well dressed man behind the counter spinning cocktails into existence from rainbow bottles of booze and a gaggle of girls watching in awe at the end of the polished marble. Polkadotted about the room are similarly stunning tables and chairs, their metalwork seemingly weaving up and out of the ground almost organically.

  It is comfortably lit without being garish and hung on the walls are signed and faded photographs from patrons obviously as happy as I am to have been here. I recognize a couple of the faces behind the glass but most I don’t, at least not through the haze of inebriation I’ve stumbled across Memphis in. I stand on the mat, dripping fat drops of second-hand rainwater onto the floor and dare not take a step further for fear of soaking the floor.

  It isn’t just the look of the places that is so superior to my usual haunts – the people that sit smiling and sipping about the place genuinely seem of a higher echelon than the louts I dare not call my drinking buddies. To top off the entire affair and lull me fully into the illusion that I belong here is a piano in the corner, a slow, rhythmic blues number softly escaping its grand chassis to accompany a beautiful woman singing as she makes her way around the stage, her steady gait and occasional glances at the audience haunting in their careful composition.

  “May I take your coat, sir?” says someone beside me – a doorman? a receptionist? – who I hadn’t noticed before and stuns me from my reverie. He reaches for what he has mistaken for a dinner jacket, my grief wholly unknown to him, and I nod, manage a “Yeah,” and let him take the blazer from my shoulders and I look to the ceiling – magnificent chandelier, naturally – and smile a weak smile.

  “Guess we made it, bro.” I say under my breath. I follow the host to a table and sit down with a squish. The waiter arrives promptly and I order two glasses of scotch from him even though I hate the stuff. He looks at me, confused, and asks if I would simply like a bottle, or perhaps a larger glass, and I say “no – two, please.” As I wait for them to arrive, listening to the soft lilt of the girl – who upon inspection can’t be much older than twenty five – and her melancholy lyrics, I feel at once relieved and guilty to have left the reception. To have abandoned Mom and Dad to deal with it on their own. The drinks are set down and I nod the curious waiter away.

  Everything is blurring now, and I think it’s the alcohol from this afternoon until I realize I’m crying, tears forming and rolling without me ever having realized. I glance the two glasses in front of me as I wipe away the tears with my shirt sleeve and pretend that I’m waiting for him, that he’s just parking the car, that he’ll be here, any moment now…

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~ by Joseph Blame on January 9, 2011.

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