10.13.2013 Journal Prompt

Image from Cheers
Image from Cheers

October 13, 2013: Sometimes he got like this.


One thought on “10.13.2013 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    Remember Norm? How we’d sit down and share a beer with him every Friday night and he’d be the life and the soul of everything and we’d laugh and break our promises and stay for more than the one drink? Remember how we looked forward to Fridays, oh for so long, and we never missed one, and always there was Norm, and he was usually the last to leave and we never asked why that was?

    He lived alone, I think. Or with his mother. Or there was a wife who was not sociable. Something wasn’t right there and he never really talked about it. He was always there at the bar drowning his secret sorrows and making us believe he was not who he was or what he was – funny in a spitting wise cracks sort of way.

    And we all helped. I don’t think it would have been the same if we hadn’t been there expecting him to be funny and softly drunk. If we hadn’t been there, then maybe it would have been different and just maybe he would have sorted things out instead of drinking till the bar closed. Truth is, I wasn’t there for him. I expect none of us were. Not really.

    They had a bargirl back then and she was pretty in a goofy sort of way and I had a thing for her. She was into books and theatre and I liked that. And the way she wore her hair and her skirts down to her knees and flat shoes and her tits small as lemons. Her name was Diane, I think. Nothing ever happened between us, but I wanted it to and looking back I think it almost did once.

    But enough of Diane, this is Norm’s story. I recall one night above the rest and it was a cold night and snow in my hair and stamping my feet to feel my toes. I was a little late to the bar, and Norm was already there and already drunk. That sometimes happened. I almost turned around and went back home. But Diane was there and looking pretty in that preppy way of hers. And so I took a seat next to Norm and ordered up a beer.

    He wasn’t funny that night. Not at all. Like all his jokes had drowned in the beers he had drunk. He was just quiet and into himself. I was on my second beer and thinking it would be my last, when he turned to me and he spoke, his voice lowered to whisper so that I had to lean into him and ask him to say again.

    ‘When it all comes down to it, what’s the point?’ he said.

    I thought it was the straight-line to a joke that he had up his sleeve. I looked at him and shrugged. He returned to his beer and I waited for the punch. Telling jokes is all about timing and Norm’s timing was always bang on. He stayed silent and I was beginning to think maybe his timing was a bit off this night, but still I waited.

    Then he was crying into his beer and at first I thought it was just a performance and a part of the joke. It wasn’t. He told me stuff that night, real from the heart stuff, and I saw him different after that. Even when he was back to his jokes, there was for me a pain beneath everything he said and a deep and unreachable loneliness. I stopped going to the bar soon after.

    It was not till I heard he died that I missed him, his jokes on a Friday night and the soft drunk that he was. I think of those times now I am old, and I think of a goofy bargirl called Diane and the chance I missed there and I remember laughing more than I ever have since. And I recall a guy called Norm who wasn’t ever all that he seemed and he reached out for help one night and I just walked away.

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