One Stool Away

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic


A woman sits next to a guy at a bar that he can tell is having a dad day...

Submitted: August 03, 2018

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Submitted: August 03, 2018

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“One Stool Away”

 

He sat at the

bar

killing time

along with his

liver

when she pulled

out

the barstool

next to him

he had been

staring forward

at the shelves

of the various

liquor bottles

when she called

out

for a dirty

martini

the bartender

asking

if she wanted

vodka or gin

to which she

quipped

“gin,

is there any

other way?”

her voice alone

captured his

complete attention

the faint smell

of her perfume

held on to

him

not a heavy

scent

her body

lightly dusted

with it

just strong

enough

to cut through

the normal

bar room smells

leaving you with

the soft aroma

of a woman

being present,

he wants to

turn towards

her

and say hi

or some other

common greeting

but the command

in her voice

when she ordered

her drink

has intimidated

him

his eyes go

from the wall

of bottles

in front of

him

down to his

glass

stealing

a long look

at the bottom

half

of her body

which he can

see

looking down

at his glass

her well defined

legs

coming out of

a pair of white

shorts

making him think

she plays tennis

or something,

then she touched

him

on the wrist

as his eyes

were still

traveling

the lines of

her legs

causing his

head

to snap upwards

unsure of what

was happening

till he followed

the hand on

his wrist

up to a

face

that was pointed

at him

“you don’t have

a pen

I could borrow

do you?”

she asked him

she keeps looking

at him

pretending not

to notice

the long pause

he is taking

to respond to

her question

which she was

on the verge of

repeating

again

when he started

pushing his stool

away from the

counter

it wasn’t till

he started walking

away from her

that he spoke

“No, but”

stopping his body

at the waitress

station

along with his

sentence

that was at

the end

of the bar

grabbing a pen

out of a beer

mug

filled with them

then holding the

pen out in

front of him

as he walked

back towards

her

enjoying the

space

between them

allowing him to

take in her

whole look

and study her

face

as he got

closer

to her,

unfortunately

he was so

transfixed

at trying to

take her all

in

and interpret

his findings

on the fly

that he almost

walked that pen

straight into her

chest

but she was

able to snatch it

from his grasp

one step before

impalement

“thanks”

was all she

said

no mention of

his awkward

delivery,

she opened up

a little notebook

and started to

write

he went back

to staring at

all the liquor

bottles

on the wall

contemplating

what he could

have done

differently

to keep the

interaction

with her

alive

and moving

forward

he kept his

head still

his eyes

trying to look

as far to his

right

as he could

without turning

towards her

able to see

only her left

hand

as she wrote

with her right

her long slim

fingers

had a clear

polish

on them

they were

void of a

wedding ring

and her hand

had a certain

allure to it

he was embarrassed

to find her

hand

so attractive

or was it

just having a

woman

in such a close

proximity

to him

that was the

cause

of these feelings,

he wasn’t sure

why

but he knew

he wanted to

touch her

hand

hold it

feel it’s warmth

against his cheek

he was fully

aware

of how weird

that sounded

the poor girl

asked him for

a pen

and now he’s

falling in love

with her left

hand

but only because

it’s the only

part of her

he can see

without turning

his head

he says to

himself

in his own

defense

he knows most

people

would have just

turned their heads

and looked at

whatever part of

her

they wanted too,

he was constantly

freaking himself

out

with the way

his thoughts are

processed

bouncing off of

the inside walls

of his mind

never just taking

a straight line

through,

he could have

just said

hi

or

what are you

writing about,

could I buy

you

a drink?

have you ever

committed a

felony

in this state?

any of these

comments

would have

slowed

her pen

and elicited

some sort of

a response

from her,

no

instead he’ll

stare at her

hand

convincing himself

she’s the kind

of woman

that will find

his respectful

approach

irresistible

or is this just

a lack of an

approach

trying to turn

his cowardliness

into a type of

play

for her attention,

he can hear

the sound of

the ball point

of the pen

rolling against

the paper

her writing

either inspired

or angry

comes to a

quick stop,

he finishes his

drink

and as luck

would

have it

the bartender

is on her

side

of the counter

at the far

end

he steadies

himself

then turns

towards her

but looks past

her

only at the

bartender

holding up a

couple of fingers

to get his

attention

who then notices

him and nods

his eyes walk

from the bartender

down the counter

of people

till they get to

her

planning on

just taking a

glancing look

as his eyes

travel back

home

but they get

stuck on

“the deep in

thought”

look

on her face

he could see

she was under

some distress

struggling to

find

the right

words

oblivious to

his open stare

her pen

now making

unconnected

designs

on the back

of the opposite

page

of what she

is writing on

she was still

waiting

on her

train of thought

to get back

on track

as the bartender

comes over

and sets a

double Crown

whisky

in front of

him

then asked

“you wanted

two drinks

right,

you held up

two fingers?”

before he could

answer

he set down a

dirty martini

in front of

her

saying

“and a dirty

gin martini

for the lady”

the word

gin martini

took her eyes

from her page

of scribbles

up to a

full martini

sitting next to

her half full

one

which she quickly

picks up

and finishes

in one gulp

before pushing

the empty glass

towards

the bartender

who takes it

as he leaves,

he was still

thinking

he didn’t answer

the two drink

question

when she again

lightly touches

his wrist

and looks up

into his eyes

“thanks”

she softly

said

to him

followed up

with

“could you tell

I really needed

another drink?”

he was amazed

as he watched

the expression

on her face

change from one

of contemplation

to shared compassion

as she thanked

him

for the drink

as if he

had somehow

done

something

much deeper

for her

then provide

her

with just another

drink,

one that looked

like

three harpooned

olives

floating in

dirty dish water

she ended her

thank you

with a sad

smile

before going

back

to her quest

of transferring

her feelings

on to paper

she takes her

pen

and makes a

Big X

across the page

tears it from

her little notebook

crumbles it up

and drops it to

the floor,

it wasn’t hard

for him

to get a

sense

she has a lot

going on in

her life

right now

he was still

angled

towards her

able to see

the new page

of paper

she is working

on

filled only with

boldly

traced outlines

of circles

and squares

the ranting

scribbles

of a troubled

mind

he was never

very good

with spoken

words

but felt the

need

to say something

to her

“you know

I find staring

at all the

different liquor

bottles

very calming”

he said

as he turned

away from

her

going back to

facing the wall

of bottles

while taking

a drink,

her right hand

broke from the

circles and squares

dropped the

pen

and picked up

her drink

letting the liquid

in the glass

come up to

her lips

giving herself

a chance to

taste

the salty brine

of the olive

juice

mixed with the

gin

and triple sec

before taking

a swallow

as her eyes

went from one

label

to another

across the wall

of bottles,

they both sat

like that

staring straight

ahead

neither one

saying a word

to the other

the only movement

from either body

came when he

held up two

fingers

to the bartender

to signal another

round

and when she

gave him

that smile of

thanks

for the drink,

he felt a

closeness

with her

that he never

knew in a bar

before

as they quietly

sat together

saying more to

each other

without speaking

than words

ever could

an unspoken

conversation

where his sentences

were coming out

right

for a change,

she took in

a deep breath

and let it

out

in such a

way

that it said

I feel better

now

while both of

them were

still looking

forward

she took the

last swallow

in her glass

put her left

hand

on top of

his

as she said

“thanks,

you just being

here tonight

quietly sitting

with me

meant a lot

to me”

he just nodded

as she

picked up her

little notebook

and slipped

away

in to the night

he reaches over

and picks up

his glass

and gives the

contents

a swirl 

before finishing

it

then looks under

his stool

her clean

crumpled up

piece of paper

standing out

against

the dirty bar

room floor

he bends down

and picks it

up

thinking twice

before

he starts to

un-wad it

the crisp letters

showing him

that it was

written

in one fluid

motion

the name

at the top

was darkened in

making it

unable to be

read

“I’ve never

in my life

came close

to loving anyone,

as much

or in as many

ways

as I  have

loved you,

Trish”

he rereads

the paper

one more time

before wadding it

back up

and dropping it

back down

to the floor

then holds up

just his index

finger

for the bartender

who sees it

and nods

his acknowledgement

and then starts

to pour him

a double Crown

whisky

as he goes

back

to staring at

all the liquor

bottles

lining the

wall

in front of

him…

 

Tom Allen…07-14-2018…


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