He is and He isn’t
The old man sits alone at the end of the bar. A mug of beer, half full and half empty at the same time, sits in front of him. He stares into the mug and in it he sees his past. Fifty years passed him by in the blink of an eye, and then again another twenty. He tries to drink away his regrets but every sip leaves him thirstier than the last one. The bartender smiles lightly at him as he orders a shot of whiskey. He never drinks it, only inhales the aroma of lost days and abandoned dreams. He spins the whisky on the table in a ritual that only he understands. I watch for a moment, then turn back to my conversation as he orders a second beer. My friend and I talk of nothing, and everything, of meaning and nonsense. A beer or two later I remember the old man and look back to see if he is still there. He is, and he isn’t. His head rests on the bar, a sad smile on his face. The bartender is in a panic. She franticly dials the phone but it is too late. He is there but gone. He died in the only place he ever truly called home. I shed a tear for a man I never met, but knew so very well.
(I promise that one day I will write something a little less…um…sad(?), but for now I will stick with what I know well).