Posted on September 4, 2013 by Patricia Ann McNair9.4.2013 Journal Prompt Image from The Late Quartet September 4, 2013: He sat alone. Share this:ShareClick to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related
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He sat alone. He sat at the bar with a glass half filled and he stared at his reflection in the mirror, and he was alone. Behind him the bar was busy and there was music playing, something he only half recognized, not the words but the song. He felt suddenly old and small and unimportant. He wondered what it had all been for and where all the years had gone and what his life now amounted to; he did not have an answer.
A part of him had always known the truth: that there was no meaning in anything. Once, years back and he was a boy then, when his thoughts had been liquid thoughts and he was a little drunk on cheap wine, he’d said as much. It had sounded bluff and lacking any real conviction. The girl he was with leaned into him and kissed him on the lips, soft as dream, and she put one hand down the front of his trousers, and that seemed to give the lie to what he’d just said.
He’d married that girl in time and the course of his life had been set in motion. He’d stood tall then and all the world at his feet and there’d seemed to be a purpose in his striding out to meet his future. Looking back, everything was quite predictable. A family followed and he’d risen up the corporate ladder and they’d moved to a bigger house and the girl he’d married was one day a stranger to him and not really someone he wanted to get to know.
He spent more and more time at work and there was someone there and she asked him back to her place one night and he felt suddenly alive and new and important again. Thirteen years he was with her and he thinks maybe his wife knew all the time, and his kids, too. And then one day it was over and the years were grey and cold and he woke up alone and lonely.
He was divorced now and living in the city again. He had a one bedroomed flat up on Lexington and all the windows nailed shut and a smell of fried food rising up through the floor. No room to hang his clothes or to store his books or set his shoes. He was smoking again and his fingers were stained yellow and his teeth were not white and he was drinking more than was good for him.
Once a week, a girl called Emmy, slept in his bed for money and the best part was watching her sleep. She smelled nice and in the morning she helped tidy up the place a bit and they had breakfast together. When she was gone, he felt dirty and small. And he wondered how it would all end and who would talk about him when he was gone and what they would say.
He went to the same bar every Friday and he drank expensive whisky till the world tilted under his step. And he listened to music that he sort of knew and he looked at himself in the mirror behind the bar and looked for the man he once was underneath the old that he’d become. And his thoughts all liquid again, he said out loud that life had no point to it and nothing did; but this time there was no one to kiss him and put a hand down the front of his trousers, and no one to give the lie to what he said.
Devastating. I think I’ll just go back to bed.
Emmmm! Yes, I suppose it is a bit bleak in its outlook. That happens sometimes! Thanks for reading, Judith.