StoryTime: An Astringent Brew


[ A friend of mine died recently and I lost for a time the ability or want to write anything. I thought I’d share some ‘stuff’ that I write. This is still a draft]

Perhaps it’s because the Thursday crowd drinks to celebrate their imminent release, whereas the Friday crowd does so to mitigate the intensity of their newfound freedom; that I can’t recall when the Thursday bar scene was less spirited than Friday’s. It’s amusing to think that for this bar, at least, these two distinct groups are comprised of the same persons.

It would be easier for you to see this if you were as I am, standing in the corner nearest the entrance, hovering over my date who continues to insist we take turns sitting. But there’s no better vantage point to peer into the narrow space separating the person from the crowd and the individual from the person. And favorable perch aside, my stubbornness and, more importantly, misguided sense of chivalry doesn’t allow for a man to sit while his lady stands.

The ambiance is charged: men and women dash themselves against the bar like angry waves against the weathered wood of the old pier about twenty blocks down the street, all before being pulled back out into the depths of the crowd. I like how unlike its staff navigating the treacherous passages, the bar shows no sign that it will be reclaimed by the demands of the sea; there is something in that. Michelle (my date) can’t pinpoint what it is but she sees something about this bar that bears a striking resemblance to the ambiance of the silent black and white films of the 20’s. To be fair, I remind her that we’re surrounded by a haphazard legion of the undead who work supplying the banking and finance sectors with the manpower to fill its thirsty coffers. Furthermore to her point, there’s a corpulent balding middle-aged manager bearing a striking resemblance to Max Schreck turn Count Orlok, ordering a beer to our left.

Her raucous cackle, while I continue to deride Orlok’s current incarnation as an account manager only intensifies my jesting, which consequently also exacerbates the sexual tension between us. Michelle having composed herself short-sightedly asks for the name of my favorite black and white film. If a few weeks prior, I had explained that given the expanse of time which has elapsed since visiting the interracial section of the porn site ‘du jour’ I no longer remember the title, I wouldn’t have gotten as agreeable a response. But we’ve passed the sixth date. In other words, we’ve seen each other naked and therefore are allowed concessions. Instead of concessions, perhaps retribution is a better word; retribution in this case for having been willing to capitulate to vulnerability, albeit behind closed doors. Have you ever wondered what is it about intimacy that once it has transpired makes trust a less astringent brew of sorts?

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