Rated PG (language)
I am your creditor, your benefactor—ready and willing to approve you. I plug, push, serve and attend. I’m a facilitator and expediter, happy to aid and abet. I’m cooperative and eager to grease your squeaky wheels. My door is always open. The doctor is in. I’m a collaborator. I disburden and extricate you from yourself. I am the enabler. I’m the bartender, the commissioner of cocktails.
She comes in quickly and ducks in front of the bar. I peer between the stools and see her squatting there. “Can I get you something?”
“I don’t want my kids to see me,” she says. “Gimme a glass of merlot, please.”
I place it on the bar just as her hand pops up and grabs it. I exchange glances with Aaron, a regular of mine. The glass reappears on the bar, empty.
“I’ll have another, please,” she says from her knees.
I fill it up and look toward the lobby. “I don’t see any kids out there,” I tell her.
Slowly, she rises to eye level. “Good, I’m not an alcoholic but my husband—I hate that fuck, we were separated for six months—says I am. But I’m not, and we got back together for the kids sake but I want to divorce the asshole, but all I’ve ever been is a housewife—he made two-hundred-thousand last year but only ninety-thousand this year—and the kids are only going to be in the house for another four years or so—so I should stick it out, but what a pain in the ass… except I like the lifestyle, and I’m not sure I can make it on my own—I’ll take another. To go,” and shows me her glass.
“Whew, that was a mouthful,” I say to Aaron, who politely waited for her to finish before sipping his beer.
“I’ll say,” he agrees, and takes a big gulp. “Makes me want to kill myself.”
Me too, but I ignore that out loud and say to her, “But you haven’t finished this one yet.”
She drains it and pushes the glass forward. “I haven’t had a drink in a week but my husband will think I’m at the bar, and I don’t usually go to bars, but we’re taking the kids to the amusement park and all I want is a glass of wine but the bastard will look down his nose at me—and I hate that, especially in front of the kids—whoops!” She ducks again as people emerge from the elevator. Momentary silence. “Whew, it’s not them. I’ll just stay down here to be safe. I can use this coupon, right?”
“Good. That way I don’t have to charge it to the room and he won’t find out, the dick…”
I pour the wine…
…and push it toward the lip of the bar where she can reach.
“My pleasure,” and it was. She needed it. As she slinks out the rear exit, peering around the corner first, I offer my litany of clichés: “Thanks for coming. And remember, at the end of the day—when all is said and done—if you follow your dream, don’t quit and never say die, you’ll be ahead of the game—wanna breath mint?!”
But she’s already gone.