Author: Autumn Win-Dow PM
Besides, he wasn't just a downtown bartender.Rated: Fiction T - English - Words: 1,027 - Published: 02-16-13 - Status: Complete - id: 3101379
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
As he kicked off his shoes at the entrance of his basic apartment, John thought back to the woman in the bar and how a simple photograph of her child was the only thing that reminded her that she could still change, no matter the circumstances.
In an instant, he carelessly dropped his phone and keys on the couch as he made his way towards the large, mahogany cabinet which had been long hidden in his bedroom. He was determined to dig out the badly taped cardboard box which has been jottings of letters and numbers marked across it.
With great effort, he pulled the box apart. A heavy cloud of dust crept toward him, provoking an itch in his nostrils. He was too focused on rummaging through the box to react, astounded by the frayed baseball from his childhood, intrigued by the mortar hat from his graduation. A photo frame coated in a thick layer of dust caught his eye; his psychology diploma. The gold sticker had not lost its gleam after being preserved for six years by the glass and wood frame borders.
John Curtis had seen a range of characters with different stories during his time as a bartender in the shabbiest part of the city. Adding to the regulars – noisy, white-collared sports enthusiasts and the sunburnt, fluorescently dressed laborers with concerns lying only in their budgets - there were the occasional executive directors, gossip-free celebrities, and even mothers stressing about the home being packed to the rafters.
To his surprise, however, he had recently added to his list a cynical and rich woman – an intoxicated one, nonetheless.
She had burst into the bar with little concern for her impression upon other patrons, ungraciously smacking down her intricately bejeweled purse against the polished surface of the bar in exasperation. John wiped dry a thick glass mug as he heard her sigh, evidently irritated.
He was caught off-guard when she nonchalantly ordered an Ultra Premium Tequila Ley, which was too foreign a term for a small town bartender such as himself. When he replied to her demand that the bar could not supply such a drink, John sensed discomfort as he watched her scoff at the bar's lack of service.
Eventually, she opted for a house beer, unconcerned about trying something outside the ranges of liqueurs and spirits. As John picked up the glass and filled it to the brim with dark, gold liquid, he could see her in his peripherals rummaging through her purse and until she pulled out a thin card. He placed the glass atop the bar table, his motions trained perfectly to prevent the mug from spilling even a drop. He briefly glanced at the card she pinched between her manicured nails.
It was a photo of a girl.
Soaked head to toe with water, with a toothy smile adorning her youthful, developing features. The primly dressed female did not pay mind to her drink's arrival as she longingly stared at the child in the photograph. Her fingers slowly trailed along its glossy surface, and John could vaguely hear her exhale through her nostrils as she pressed her lips together, evidently upset.
"…Your daughter?" John asked instinctively, signaling to the picture with a nod of the head.
The woman glanced up and noticed the beer in front of her. The mug was adorned with small, thirst quenching beads of moisture which desperately clung to its smooth surface – but still cringed at the sight, and he guessed that she wasn't so appealed by the drink of the working class. She stared at him with a flicker of disbelief in her eyes, before letting out a deep sigh and replying.
"Yes, she is. But I doubt she wants me to be her mother." The woman dazedly answered, not paying any attention to the men who hooted and cheered in front of the much anticipated semi-finals of a rugby match.
"Why is that?" It was a question he regularly asked as he wiped smooth the surfaces of the bar – cleaning up after the messy six o'clock rush hour.
"I haven't exactly been the best mother to her." Her tone was bitter and her face expressed mingled feelings of remorse and annoyance, before looking back at him, an eyebrow arched.
"Besides, why are you so curious to know about my personal matters?" She huffed at him, taking a moment to lift her gaze from the photograph toward him, scanning him suspiciously from head to toe. "You're just a bartender, for what I know."
"Exactly that," John confirmed after shrugging. "Being a bartender isn't exactly the most exciting thing to do. Sometimes I like to hear the stories of my customers."
He was confused as to why she crinkled her thin eyebrows after looking down. John followed her gaze to see that the wooden surface of the bench gleamed harshly under the shabby light bulb hanging above him.
"…She's still young, Miss. I doubt she would harbor feelings of that extent at her age, no matter what you did."
"Really?" She murmured, still seeming doubtful of his words.
"No parent wants their child to be upset, and believe it or not, it's the same vice versa. So you should talk to her. Take her to the amusement park, for example." It was a suggestion offered with the knowledge that previous customers with similar issues had succeeded with. A fool-proof plan for reconciliation.
"…You really sound like a psychologist of mine. Always butting into others' business." She scoffed after a brief moment of silence, nose upturned.
"I tend to hear that a lot." John sneered.
The woman had simply nodded with an expression full of thought and left silently, leaving behind the cold beer and a one hundred dollar bill on the bench.
John liked to think that he still possessed the skill he once had in psychology years ago, but he was aware that the conversation with the rich mother was only the start.
Besides, he wasn't just a downtown bartender.
A/N: Just something small I decided to write. Nothing much. :)