Broken, Cont'd.


From last time ...

At first glance, he looks rather normal.

He's tall and lean, dressed in clean but well worn jeans and a light blue shirt, open at the collar. He leans on the bar and his fingers encircle his glass, but he does not drink. He just stares into the glass, instead.

His face is pleasant, handsome, even. His blondish hair is long and he has a cowlick that women find endearing.

Everything about him just looks normal. Until you look into his eyes. When you look into his eyes, you can see his pain - you can see that he is broken.

And now ...

You wipe the bar with the towel, feeling badly for the young man and his pain, wishing there was something you could do or say to make him open up, to say something, anything, that will get things moving toward a conversation that will ease his mind. You wonder what it is that causes such misery ... and yet, you know that you know. People. Love. Relationships. You wonder, yet again, at the torture people inflict on one another, all in the name of Love. Or Survival.

The door opens and light floods in and you move down the bar to greet the customer who has just walked into the place.

She sits down on a stool at the far end of the bar. She signals for a beer. You hold up a Bud. She nods her head. You set a glass before her, on the bar, and fill it with beer from the bottle, then set the bottle down on the bar, next to her glass. She slides her money toward you. You watch as her hand retreats and wraps itself around the glass.

A fresh, clean face. No makeup. Long brown hair lays on her shoulders, contrasting nicely with the blue denim shirt she wears. She looks so pretty. She looks so lost.

Her other hand comes up from her lap and wraps itself around the glass, and she stares, intently, at the bubbles rising in the liquid. And you can see, in her, pain, the same pain that HE feels, down at the other end of the bar.

And you wipe the bar with the towel, feeling badly for the pretty young lady and her pain, wishing there was something you could do or say that would make her open up and speak the pain out loud and make it go away.

His pain. Her pain. Becomes your pain. You want to help. You want to know. How. Why. It makes no sense that those so young must hurt so badly, but there is nothing you can do.

You move down the bar to where the young man stands, wiping with the towel as you go. He lifts his hands so you can wipe the bar where he stands. You pick up his glass and you look up into his eyes, those eyes so full of hurt, and you tilt your head toward the other end of the bar. You take his glass and walk down to end of the bar and you set the glass down next to the pretty lady with the hurt and lost look on her face. You turn and look back and he's still standing where he's been all along, indecision on his face.

The door opens and light pours in and several loud and boisterous people come in the door and you're distracted for a few minutes as you get their drinks and they settle in along the bar.

You bend over the sink under the bar and start cleaning glasses. You look down toward the pretty lady and see she is gone. You look the other way and see that the young man is gone, as well. You raise up a bit to look over the bar and you see them, together, at a small table in the corner, their heads down and leaning in toward each other, talking. Not smiling, but at least talking. You look down at the glasses you're cleaning and you feel good. You smile. Your pain is gone. The pain you shared with them is gone because you know that you've done your job. You've given them a chance.

You grab your towel and go down to the place where she sat and wipe the bar.


Jientje said...

Beautiful. As always.

Nan Sheppard said...

Lovely! It was great to hear more about the young man... I wanted to know more!

Grandmother said...


Teresa said...

Great story!

PattiKen said...

Nice, Lou. I can't help but wonder if it would have been that easy were they not both beautiful on the outside. I suspect that would have been a whole other story.

Tara R. said...

I like how this story played out... this small spark of hopefulness.