Bars are filled with lonely people looking for a few moments of forgetfulness over a glass of distilled spirits. If they are fortunate, there’s a well-tuned piano with a young or old gent whose fingers make passionate love to the black and white keys.
As one sits there waiting for the transition from the work place to one’s place of abode, the ambiance offers a smooth taste of interlude from what was and what is to come. The bartender knows his or her patrons by name, first names, as the server of beverages observes the men and women coming and going.
The piano player takes in the scenes and smiles as a patron drops a bill or two into the brandy sniffer on the piano. The better the music the better the take for the night.
At the end of the bar sits Mary drowning her sorrows in her third gin and tonic. Wondering what happened to her motorcycle Romeo who one day just picked up and left her and the four youngsters to survive the hostile world alone.
At a corner table sits Jack, a veteran, with a Purple Heart in his right pocket wondering where his innocence went as he sips his Jack Daniels rye. He glances at the piano gent as he plays Misty and remembers the girl he left behind when he went to war. She married his best friend who stayed behind to run the family store.
Rusty plays a game of solitary darts. After each throw, he wets his lips with his Vodka straight up. He never finishes the glass and never wins the game. His story, no one knows except he walks with a limp and a rugged scar on his left hand. A knife can cut a scar as deep as the soul.
At a corner table Rosita stares at the cherry in her Manhattan. Her look is one of desolation. Each night she comes into the bar and buys the same drink and sits there for an hour without touching it. Loneliness takes many forms and Rosita is as lonely as they come.
Sid, the bartender, works 13-hour days seven days a week. His bar is his place of business as well as his home. He lives with his mother, but he lives his life vicariously through the lives of his patrons.
Coming full circle we come back to the gent at the piano. It is rumored that once he was a gifted music teacher at a prestigious school but scandal drove him into obscurity. When he plays his songs, he is lost in this reality from 6 to midnight each night. He has no name, just Piano Man.
In fictional bars on television and movies everyone may know your name. However, they do not know you, the you behind the façade, the projection, the carefully drawn caricature, and the hurting and weary soul.
Behind the eyes which stare into the glass is a lonely soul, a traveller looking for an oasis from their reality. Perhaps, just perhaps, he or she is yearning to hear a song from the cosmic ocean and a place to belong away from this lonely planet traversing the cosmos.
G. D. Williams © 2013
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