One Reply to “8.11.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. In this job you get to know stuff. Punters just open up and they take you for their best friend and they tell you all kinds of shit thinking they can trust you and all ’cause you serve ’em their drinks. I learned soon enough to just smile and nod and look all interested and concerned. Sometimes they don’t have to say much, and I can just read their whole story from how they are, the shapes that they make with their bodies – the hunch of their shoulders or the big or small gestures of their hands or the set of their mouths.

    There’s this one couple though, and I don’t get ’em at all. They come in some days and they sit at the one table in the back and she orders a glass of rosé wine and he orders a beer. They sit leaning into each other, but they don’t speak. He’s a little older than her and he looks a bit crumpled, you know. Like he’s just slept in that shirt he’s wearing. And she’s pretty enough and she’s always looking past him, like he ain’t the one she’s supposed to be with. Like I say, in this job you read people – and maybe sometimes you read ‘em wrong, but I can;t read ’em at all.

    I fetch ‘em out their drinks and I take ‘em some nuts in a bowl just to be warm. And I say something about the day and the hot that it’s been and the breathless still. He makes noises in the back of his throat, animal noises, like something a bear might make or a dog that aint exactly pleased to see you. She does the talking.

    She’s maybe thirty and she don’t wear a ring on any of her fingers and when she smiles she lights up the space where she is. She says it sure has been hot today and she fans herself with her hand and blows air on herself and she asks if she can have ice in her glass if it aint no trouble. When I bring her ice, she fishes one cube out with her fingers and holds it pressed to the back of her neck and the melting water runs slow off her shoulders and down into the crease between her breasts.

    She pays for the drinks – and that throws me a little and I look for what it is that’s between ’em, the something that will define who they are and what they are. One time I thought maybe he was her boss and they got a thing going on, ‘cept her always paying don’t add up. And though he’s old enough to be her father, the way they sit, and this one time he touched her leg under the table, well, he aint no father that’s for sure.

    Been coming here for best part of a year and they don’t never leave together. She counts out a few bills and folds ‘em into his palm and he just goes. She has another drink and she maybe puts some money into the jukebox and she stays for maybe a quarter of an hour after he’s gone. She picks songs that have love in ‘em someplace and she smokes a cigarette, pulling at it slow with her kiss-lips – like you would do after sex.

    She’s a good tipper, that I can say at least, and she gives me a look when she leaves – always the same look but I don’t get what that look is any more than I get what the two of ’em are together, and that look she gives me, well, it tugs at something in my gut and I want to follow her out of the bar and I never do.

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