The intoxicating air reek of cigarette and alcohol blended with the perfume of the various groups of buzzing people; savoring the addictive taste of a good liquor over the country music playing in the background.
Darrius could never picture himself sitting at the corner of a bar in all forty-six years of his fulfilled life as he nursed the half-filled glass of bourbon, enjoying the bitter brown liquid numbing his taste buds and burning down his throat. Hoping all the liquor he downed would also dull his miseries and senseless life.
Lifting the now empty glass, Darrius signaled the bartender for another drink. Planning to waste the night away numbing himself from all the ‘what ifs’ and regrets from sneaking back into his guilty conscience.
“Problem with your Mrs., eh?”
Darrius turned to the booming voice eyeing a man in his sixties, maneuver himself into the seat across from him just as the bartender set another drink down in front of him.
Darrius was not in the mood for any chit-chat, clenching his jaw at the mention of his wife as he closed his eyes lifting the glass to his lips and taking a mouthful, only to choke whilst the red-haired man laugh heartedly.
“Guess I forgot to warn you about that water, eh?” he mused much to his amusement as Darrius directed his glare at the young bartender laughing alongside the stranger.
“Figured you needed a break. I ken that look on your face lad, even sat on that same stool.” the old man nodded at Darrius’ spot.
Darrius signed heavily, sulking at the unwanted company and his minced Sottish accent, stock still glaring at the ice cubes shifting in the cool glass of water in his hands.
“Trying to drink your pain away won’t help you.” The old man probed despite being ignored. “Let me ask you a question... have you ever tasted true happiness?”
That question seemed to have spark something within Darrius as he lifted his gaze regarding the old man. If he were to ask him a year ago what true happiness was, Darrius would simply lean back on his office chair, shrugging his heavy shoulders and conceitedly announce ‘he was the perfect example of true happiness’.
Yet for the first time, Darrius sat tongue-tied gawking at the wooden table somehow too ashamed to look the old man in the eye and answer the question.
“I see you found it lad. So why are you here and not with that happiness?” the old man observed, scratching at his beard.
“It’s complicated” Darrius replied in a strangled voice, shaking his head and taking another mouthful of the cool water drowning his suddenly sore throat.
“Isn’t it always? Since you have nothing better to do but drink yourself silly. Why not share your tale, you’d be surprised at how much it can help.” The old man said shifting his stool closer.
Pulling at the set of wedding bands safely hanging from his necklace, Darrius smiled picturing his wife bright smile before regarding the man in front of him, comfortably nested on his stool.
“Where do I begin...?” Darrius started releasing a heavy sigh and rubbing at his thick beard, blaming his alcohol-induced brain for seeing no harm in sharing his biggest regret at being a fool to a completely nosy stranger in a bar in the middle of nowhere.