Musings In A Lounge Bar

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a sort of "metaphysical" story dating from when "transcendental meditation" was all the rage. It's a sort of introspective examination of the feelings engendered by the sightings of a particular girl.
Sounds weird, but isn't really. It's just, well...musings, as a story.

Submitted: July 21, 2013

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Submitted: July 21, 2013

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Musings In A Lounge Bar.



They  sat  at  the corner table,  talking  quietly,  not taking  any notice of the other people around them.  She  didn't really  look at ease then, even though they didn't appear to  be arguing.  They each had a drink, and a packet of cigarettes  lay between  them on the table. The conversation was  inaudible  but  you  got  the  impression  that  they  were  trying  to  justify themselves to one another.

They didn't appear to be very well matched, either. He  was tall, with fair, straight hair, whilst  she  was  minute,  elf-like almost, with black hair, tight on  her  small,  baby  head. He must have been at least six feet two, as  opposed  to  her  five  feet. She bounced the  cigarette  packet  on  its corners, sliding it between her finger and thumb, and stared  at  the floor while he talked - no; spoke - and she didn't move when  he  paused  to  drink his beer. There  was  never  any  definite  expression  on her face, unless she smiled, or laughed; but  she never  did  either when she was with him.  Anxiety,  fear,  joy, security, anger, worry:- they were all in her face, but none  of them could be defined individually.

There was plenty of other, more lively, activity in  the pub, though. It tended to be a lively place anyway; soft lilting laughter  from  one seat, and louder, more ribald  guffaws  from  another,  where  some  lads  were  exchanging  jokes.  But  your attention would always be drawn back.

Strange,  because  the  very fact  of  their  maintained  distance seemed to act like a magnet. You felt as if you must watch, unobtrusively, and study,to  see  if  she was going to laugh or cry.  And  when  she  didneither,  you  felt annoyed, because it wasn't  right  that  she  should  just sit and stare, and not look cheerful, or bored,  or  anything.  You  felt  uncomfortable,  because  you  didn't  know  whether she was uncomfortable, or not.

He went to refill their glasses.

Another  point.  She didn't seem to  know  anybody.  She  still just sat, and stared. No-one came up and spoke to her,  or  recognised her, much less sat down with her during his  absence. But  you'd seen her in here several tines before,  and  outside in the street occasionally, both alone and with him.

But if you looked around, everybody knew each other.  He came  from  the  offices down the road, that one was out  of  work  asusual,  but always seemed to have enough money for a drink; her over there in the corner was an old  faithful, in here from eight thirty to  ten  thirty, regular as clockwork.

But no-one spoke to her.  Surely someone must know her.

"Who's that girl over there?"
"Eh? Oh, her! Yes, now, what's her name? Oh God! I can't think offhand. I'll tell you if I remember."
"Do you know who that girl is?"
"Yes, 'course I do. Friend of what's-her-name. Hmmm. Now you've got me thinking. I can't remember, you know....."

He came back with two brimming glasses and sat down next  to her. She took a glass and drank from it. She never seemed  to  look  at  him.  When  she spoke to him it was as if she was slightly disinterested, merely being polite.

The  smoke  in the pub drifted upwards  from  scores  of  cigarettes,  curling  lazily round the wall lamps and  giving  a  faint  haze  to the light. Glasses clinked and  rattled;  voices blended together to form a pleasant relaxing background.

The girl took up her coat and handbag.

That was quick. You didn't see her finish her drink. And him!  Oh, not so strange, really, though. They never did stay and talk when they'd finished drinking-- where did they go?  Cinema? Bit  late,  nine thirty. Coffee? Could be.  Home,  perhaps?  No, definitely not. If you tried to visualise them sitting  together at  home, it just didn't fit. No matter which way you looked at it.
 
Take watching T.V.
 
That was out. They had too much to talk about,  although  they  never seemed to settle anything. Records, then?  Unlikely. She wasn't relaxed enough for that. Must be habit, that  staring at  the  floor. She was doing it even when she walked  out.  No,  seeing them curled up on a rug with piles of Eric Clapton, Frank  Sinatra, Beatles, or even Jamiroquai wouldn't fit, either.

****** ****

Ah, not so many people tonight. Better really. More room  to  move. They weren't here yet, though. When they  came,  you'd  have to listen. Discreetly, mind.

How  could  two  people, so  different  physically,  and presumably  to some extent mentally, have so much in common?  So much in common, in fact, that they could last together for three years?

Three  years.  She'd  never changed in  that  time.  She  always looked the same. So did he. That little beard didn't suit him,  though. And why wear dark glasses in a pub? Mind  you,  it  seemed to be the ‘in-thing'. You'd noticed several girls wearing them. Weak personalities? Hers wasn't.

Was it? You'd never spoken to her. Not even so much as a ‘good evening', never mind a ‘Hallo, I see you're here again-  I like  you very much- will you please have a drink with  me-  and then will you sleep with me and stay with me for the rest of  my life?'

So how would you know whether her character was weak? Well,  she didn't appear to have a weak character. Or  a particularly  forceful one, come to that. You'd love to talk  to  her!  Find  out what made her tick! Have her smile  that  little elfin smile, just for you  -- at you.

They were here!

She'd  probably  make a good wife. But she  didn't  look  like  the sort of girl who could cook, or sew, or anything.  And what did he do? Office staff? Doubtful. Manual? No, that  wasn't right,  either. What, then? Artist? Ah! That was more  like  it.  And  she  must be at college. But what could  she  be  studying?

Drama. A lot of girls seemed to be studying that.  Trouble  was,  she seemed to have no  real  interest  in anything.  You could tell, more or less, by her attitude in the pub and when you saw her in the street.

Dejected.

Yes, that was the word. Now that did fit her, very well.  But why would she be so dejected? And if she'd felt that way for three years, you'd have expected her to find some answer by now,  wouldn't you? Some solution to it all. Or committed suicide.  

He  brought two glasses back from the counter.  Just  as  the  night before, they sat and talked, without seeming to  come  to any conclusions, settlement, or end.

It  makes you wonder what sort of existence  they  lead, doesn't  it?  Especially  outside the pub.  At  home.  At  work,  college. What do they do when you can't see them? And what about the times they are separated? Or alone together? It really makes you think, doesn't it?
 
How  different  your own fiance is!  Lively,  practical, intelligent,  loving;  all  you  could wish  for,  in  fact.  As different  from  her as chalk is from cheese. How would  it  be, married  to someone like her?  Almost impossible to  imagine.  So  quiet!  No  life  in her at all, as far as you  could  see.  But perhaps  she would  change if she was married. Perhaps she  would liven  up a bit. Then she'd be laughing and joking in  the  pub with  everyone else. Not sitting and staring at the  floor.  But  then she might not be at the pub. If she was married, she'd have other things to occupy her. Like  two families instead of one. A loving  husband  to look  after.  And to look after her. And shopping to do,  and  a home to clean; places to go and people to see. Oh yes, her  life might be very different if she was married.

That's  got you thinking, hasn't it? Supposing your  own girl  changes when you're married? Perhaps, after a  while,  the  strain  would  become too much, the burden too  heavy  to  bear.  That's  if  it all didn't work out right,  of  course.  Perhaps, then, she would become like her.  That would be a turn-up for the  book, as they say, wouldn't it?

She  picked  up  her handbag and took out  a  packet  of  cigarettes,  and  as  she opened the packet,  the  wedding  ring flashed in the light.



THE  END


Musings in a lounge bar.
aka Darling.  
aka The Conversation.


© No part of this outline/story or screenplay may be reproduced,  stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, by any means or  in  any  form, including electronically,  either wholly or in part, without  written  permission  from the copyright holders. ©Copyright David Barry.  1967.


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