The Bar Scene
The place is pretty packed when I get there. I had thrown on a dress with some flats, put my hair up in a ponytail, and dabbed fresh makeup onto my face. I took a seat at the bar between two men who would much rather have a conversation around me than actually allow me to join. The few times that I tried to get their attention they continued to look past me as if I wasn’t even there.
“What can I get for you?” The tall male bartender with flaming green eyes asked me after about five minutes of me trying to flag him down.
“What do you suggest?” I asked. It’s been two years since I’ve been to a bar, probably even longer since I actually talked to a bartender. I had no idea what I wanted to drink or what the hip thing was these days.
“I’ll get you a beer for starters. Do you have your ID? I haven’t seen you here before.” He kept nodding at people as they passed.
I wasn’t even really sure he was paying attention to me. Still I felt pretty good knowing that I was being carded to by an alcoholic drink. It’s sad the simple things that make me happy. I handed him my driver’s license and he glanced down.
“Kris Thornton.” He said the name and looked back up at me then down at the picture.
“That’s me.” I answered as he gave him a perky smile.
He handed me back my license and turned his back to me in order to get me a beer. The two men that had been sitting next to me had moved to a table leaving two empty seats on either side of me. Yet two more people that I managed to repel.
The bartender turned back and placed the long neck bottle in front of me. I nervously began to pick at the label. He stared at me for a few moments as if he was trying to place my face. A familiarity hit him but he brushed it off and returned to his previous unreadable expression.
“Do you live around here?” He asked noticing that I was making a mess of my space.
“Yes. Just down the street.” I smiled at him grateful for the conversation.
“Just move in?” He cocked an eyebrow.
“No. Been there for three years now.” The smiled I had just worn faded.
“Just haven’t seen you in here before, figured a pretty girl like you must be new to the area.” He winked at me.
I admit the slight flirtation did take me aback a little. I even looked around me to make sure there wasn’t another woman standing behind me ordering a drink with some keen telepathic ability. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the only girl in a ten foot radius from the bartender was me.
“I don’t get out often.” I stopped picking at the bottle and focused all my attention on the man.
He couldn’t be older than twenty-three or twenty-four, with unusually dark black hair and those super neon green eyes. His lips were exceptionally red compared to his pale skin and he had tattoos running up both arms disappearing into the sleeves of his black t-shirt. He wasn’t a large man; probably six foot with his shoes off and weighing no more than a hundred and eighty pounds. He was toned but not overly muscular where his tattoos would lose all meaning. He was attractive and apparently very nice to amuse a shut in like myself.
“You should come by more often then. We have live bands on the weekends, karaoke on Tuesdays and Thursdays, all sorts of events to impress the ladies.” He glanced down the bar towards a man holding up his beer bottle. He looked at me and frowned. “I will be back in just a moment.”
I instantly returned to picking the label off the bottle. I didn’t even realize he had returned until he reached out and took it from my hannds pouring the amber liquid into a mug.
“You’re making a mess of my bar.” He teased sliding the glass towards me.
“Sorry. Large crowds make me a bit nervous.” I laughed awkwardly and took a sip of the beer.
It had been so long since I had actually tasted one that I chugged the whole thing in two seconds and held the mug out for more. The bartender laughed as he refilled my glass and slide it towards me.
“After a few of these I think those large crowds won’t be bothering you much.” He teased as I began to blush.
“So what’s your name?” I asked wishing to keep the conversation going.
“Kaleb.” He held out his hand.
I took the pale palm in my hands amazed by its coldness. The bar was stifling hot. I pushed off the oddity as being caused by his job. He touched and moved cold mugs and bottles all night. No matter how hot it was in the bar he would always have cold hands.
“It’s nice to meet you.” I smiled at him. This had been a great idea! I needed to quit feeling sorry for myself anyway.
“It’s nice to meet you.” He repeated my words and gave me another sparkling white smile.
“So how long have you been here?” I asked taking a sip of my beer and trying not to suck it down like the last one.
“About six months.” He answered his gaze was intent like he was reading my face again.
“Not long at all. Has anyone showed you around town?” I closed my eyes. While Kaleb was definitely a man to lust over he did not fit my repertoire for datable men. The tattoos alone would send my mother into a fit of madness and most likely cause an aneurism. The last thing I wanted was for him to think that I was opening an invitation.
“I get out on my days off and take in the local nightlife.” He answered me giving no indication that he thought I was offering my services.
I took a deep breath realizing that I had dodged a bullet. I down the beer I was holding and gave him a warm smile.
“It was great to meet you Kaleb. I need to get home. It’s passed my bedtime. How much do I owe you?” I wish I could say that I was joking but it was midnight, my normal mundane sleepy time.
“Nothing tonight. Just promise me that you will come by another night this week and see me.” He tapped on the bar, gave me one last smile, and walked away towards a group of college men waving twenties.
I didn’t even have the chance to tell him thank you. Against my best judgment, and the nagging voice of my mother in the back of my head, I grabbed a napkin and a pen and scrawled out my cell phone number making sure to put my name under it. This is not something that I have ever done to be honest. I have never once in my life given my number to a stranger that wasn’t a member of my bank, electric company, apartment complex, or work. It didn’t feel off to do, in fact I felt pretty good about finally finding a person to share this number with. I wasn’t expecting a call or a message or anything really. Just the idea that I had done this was enough to put me in a pretty good mood.
I made my way down the street and into my apartment building. I climbed the stairs to my front door and punched in the keyless lock code. Shutting the door behind me I placed my purse on the bar and turned to check the answering machine to find that, as usual, it was showing zero new messages. I walked from the living room to the bedroom peeling off clothes as I moved until I stopped at my bed threw on my nightgown and crawled under the comforter.
I was asleep in a matter of seconds dreaming of images that I could not place, of faces that I would not remember, and of places that to me never existed. Dreams were nothing to me, they were merely moments that passed between the times that I was awake. I never read into them and very rarely even had enough of a recollection of them to even want to.
At two in the morning my phone made a noise that I had never heard. It sounded like a desk bell followed by a round of buzzing. I rolled over confused, grabbed the little plastic overpriced alarm clock from the bedside table and looked at it. I had a message. I eyed the phone suspiciously thinking that maybe it was just trying to play a cruel joke on me. It made the noise again and buzzed in my hand. I hit the icon and the conversation (one sided at this time) appeared on my screen.
I got your number. See you soon. Kaleb
The unbelievable had happened that night. I had actually managed to make one thing different in my boring little world. Things were changing, everything, for once, was coming up roses.