hey little songbird
She sat at the bar, drinking somberly. She glanced down at the 25 cent ring on her finger.
She took another drink.
I love you. I know I'm not famous yet, but one day, one day I'll sing you a song, and it'll make us rich.
She looked away. How long could she live off promises and songs?
She loved him, yes. And he sang so beautifully. That's why she fell in love with him in the first place.
But she was grown now. That love sick teenager didn't know how hard it was to get by.
She did. His songs would run out of fuel, and they would both starve, while she worked herself to the bone trying to support them both.
Like she'd been doing.
Running on promises.
One day. One day. One day.
One day I'll hit it big.
One day I'll give you a house.
One day I'll have a job.
One day too late. She was exhausted, and they were still poor. Dirt poor. They're lights were about to cut off. Water too.
There wasn't enough hours in the day for the amount of hours she needed to work just to eat.
It was hard. And all he brought was love and promises.
And songs. So many songs. About how one day they'd be happy.
She swallowed. She wished it was enough. And it was for a while.
She swallowed another gulp. She couldn't even afford this over priced alcohol. It would take a hit to her paycheck.
But damn it, she wanted to treat herself. At least once.
Will you marry me?
Marry him? And live like this forever? Waiting. Waiting for him to realize his songs wouldn't feed her? Or him? Or anyone?
They both wanted children. How the hell could they feed children on an aspiring artist salary?
She didn't go to college so they could get a place together, and she could help him with his music.
He always said she was his muse. He muse hadn't eaten in four days.
His muse was starving.
And she only had the qualifications for a barely above minimum wage job.
On a good day.
She looked up at the bartender. If she ordered another drink she wouldn't be able to eat for another week.
So much for treating herself.
"Refresh her drink, on me," a deep voice said beside her.
So deep. Like it came from hell.
She looked up at him. "That's okay," she refused.
The darkness shadowed his face, and his voice gave nothing away.
"Please," he said lowly, "let me get you a drink. You look you need it," he motioned to the bartender.
She settled back in her chair, clearing her throat. "Thank you. I'll pay ba—"
"No need, little songbird." He said gently.
She swallowed roughly. "Well, thank you very much," she watched the bartender make the drink like a hawk, debating whether to even drink it.
No one give anything for free.
"A wounded songbird, it looks like, from your suspicion."
She licked her lips. "You can never be too careful. Nothing in life is free."
He chuckled lowly. "That's true. Wounded but smart, interesting.
She sniffed the drink as the bartender handed it to her.
She set it down. It didn't smell funny, but neither did most poisonous things.
"Did a child give that to you," the man asked, tipping his head toward her ring."
She touched the ring. "No. My...boyfriend."
He made a noise in his throat, that could be called a laugh.
"Budget issues." She smiled, wondering why she was telling him anything.
He smirked. "Let me guess: he's some kind of...poet? Singer maybe? And he's penniless."
She shielded her ring.
His laughter rang out in bar, making everyone pause.
She looked away. "We'll get through it."
"You'll get to the grave," he mused. "Fingers as beautiful as yours shouldn't be so calloused."
"What do you know?" She swallowed.
"I know that man who wants to sell dreams will always be poor. As will the woman who buys them."
He leaned toward her. "Songbird, I'm sure he loves you. But you'll struggle in agony your whole life for a man who refuses to grow up, and wake up from a dream."
She twisted her ring. "I...love him. And...I want to stay with him until he hits it big."
"Until? There's no guarantee. Maybe he'll be discovered tomorrow. Or maybe forty years from now, he'll be on a street corner singing for a dime, with a guitar you paid for."
She cleared her throat. "He's...I love him."
The man smiled. Her breathing hitched. "And you could just as easily love someone else, little songbird. It's alright to do what's best for you."
She sighed. He extended his hand. "Here. I have a use for a song bird, if you care to perch and sing for me for a while."
He handed her a black business card, with gold lettering.
He stood. "Give me a call."
She sighed as he left, his scent lingering.