It was a busy night, not so busy that the man didn’t have time to tell me that he was looking for a seat at the bar, and not too busy for me to acknowledge that.
They clearly were cool. It wasn’t something the two needed to say outright, it just permeated every aspect of their being, from their tribal tattoos to their attitude.
I think I might have yawned. I know that I looked at the clock on the wall. Time can crawl or race by depending on circumstance. Sometimes working behind the bar is exciting — making lots of drinks, talking to lots of people, loud music, hustle bustle — and then sometimes it’s not.
I don’t recall how the conversation started, but I remember well how it ended.
“I never went back there,” said the young woman.
It was as good a lunch as one could remember. If Virginia Woolf is known for saying, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” I would like to go on record as saying that the same is true for lunching well. Anyone who works nights will tell you the same thing.
“I’ll have an old fashioned with George Dickel, orange and angostura bitters and maraschino liqueur,” she said authoritively.
“With an orange twist and a cherry on top . A Luxardo maraschino, if you have it.”
“Ah, the original,” I said.
He had been coming in a lot as of late. If they say time heals all wounds, then it would be safe to say his were sufficiently scabbed over — at least enough to be dipping his foot back into in the shallow dating pool around here.
Handsome, successful, generous and kind, certainly a catch for anybody interested in those sorts of things.
The light flickered just slightly in the little bar. Not enough for everyone to notice, but enough for the bartender to.
He flicked the little light with his index finger, causing it to flicker some more.
“We gotta get this fixed,” the bartender said in a fashion that suggested he had said it before.
We sat in our little group around the large round restaurant table — a journalist, a master gardener, a Realtor, a law student and a poet. If politics make strange bedfellows then the restaurant business makes even odder table mates. It is one of the few jobs that you can work as much or as little as you want.
To say it had been a bad day would be an understatement.