dear sir i whispered
Honey jeweled eyes pled a song of sorrow to the reflection below him. I watched as he traced the rim of his snifter with the tips of his fingers and with caught breath I awaited for the tiny melody to match the tone of his mood. A slow melancholy was emitted and I heard a heavy sigh escape his mouth.
I pretended to mind my own business that night but could not help but notice that the gentleman was a perfectly coiffed mess with what seemed the weight of the universe on his back. I bent my head toward my wine glass and listened to the hollowed sounds of music wafting throughout the room. It’s notes melded with ones made from the gentleman and his glass made me feel empty inside. It was a feeling I would often run from because no one likes the feeling of emptiness, of unworthiness, of pure loneliness.
His bitterness seemed to permeate the air and caused a thickness that made the air stifling. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and couldn’t understand why a perfect stranger would make other patrons in the lounge so uncomfortable. Glancing at the other faces that were visiting that evening, there weren’t many, it seemed that I wasn’t the only one who noticed his anguish. I took a sip of the German white I had ordered and tried my best to savour it. It didn’t help … I thought perhaps it was because I couldn’t enjoy anything if I knew another soul was in trouble and I tried to ignore the more humane part of me.
He sniffed a little louder than he expected, at least that’s what I assumed, and I looked over at his slumped over figure and saw his face turning a darker shade of pink. Quickly I cast my eyes toward the barkeep who was also keeping an eye on him. Our eyes met and we understood in silent comaradery that the gentleman would be taken care of. I nodded my head and the barkeep prepped another snifter of the warm, silkened, cognac. I took another swallow from my glass and felt a temporary ease wash over my conscious.
Who would interfere and ask questions as to why a grown man would be in a bar, by himself, dressed every bit a proper man, and sulking over a glass of fine cognac? Not me. Being a woman there are some things one just doesn’t do. Not even to your best friend, your brother, your lover, least of all your own father, never mind a stranger. Moments of privacy are respected even in public. These are not to be intruded on. Yet, I was compelled as was the barkeep to keep a comfort going for him. There are souls that don’t need to say a word for the rest of the world to know they are in trouble. As with every action, reaction … there are souls that notice and will take hold the other up if in need. It’s a law of the universe I’ve yet to figure out. Somehow it’s just a sensation, a feeling, a knowing.
The barkeep gently placed the glass in front of the gentleman. Startled, he immediately reached for his wallet and the barkeep shook his head in friendly form quietly informing him that it was already paid for by the misses at the bar. He looked over and I half tilted my head in friendly manner. Not every encounter between man and woman had to do with procreation. True the universe would not be the same if this were not true. But in the decency of humanity, sometimes it was just better knowing that the other half of the population understood the pain and angst one was going through. That’s all it is.
Almost immediately the heaviness in the air seemed to dissipate. His head was still bent over his glass and his face still seemed to gravitate to the darker side of life but it seemed at least now he was breathing. His eyebrows weren’t furrowed so deep and his shoulders weren’t as sloped as they were before. I looked at the barkeep once more and gave a half smile. He did the same. Getting up I put on my light coat and walked out.
Heading down the cobbled path towards my apartment I couldn’t help but think that if people weren’t as selfish, more understanding and willing to accept that people have bad days and don’t always want company; if we just left each other alone for a bit of time; if we just gave each other space to breathe; if we just listened to our instincts … maybe we wouldn’t be so sad and angry all the time. Maybe if we just allowed people comfort from a distance things would be more calm.
I don’t know what happened to the gentleman, don’t know where he is, what the story was nor do I want to know. All I really know is that 8.50 was an alright amount to pay for an hour of thinking time for someone. I’d be willing to give that to a complete stranger and for those nearest to me … I’d do anything. Including leaving them alone forever if need be.