It was Saturday night. Everyone knew that. And so they were all shuffling in, wearing the same creased and worn clothes they always did. They were wearing the same creased and worn expressions too. It was no trouble for them to find their regular seats at the bar, and less to resume the same, creased, worn, comfortable conversations they always carried on here.
Within ten minutes David, the bartender, had everyone served. After all, the orders were always the same.
So they waited. After all, it was Saturday night. That meant music. A temporary respite in the unchanging sea of life and loneliness. And they waited.
Because on Saturday nights, at least they were lonely together.
Drinks were served. Cigarettes were lit. Idle talk passed around untñil it shriveled up and died in the stale atmosphere.
Finally, at a pre-appointed time, when some unique mixture of depression, alcohol, ennui, and smoke had all of the patrons suitably relaxed, Skyler would come out.
His entrance was always quiet, and he had a strangely diffident air about him. But he could draw music out of the old, damaged, stained piano that sat in the corner of the room that would make the most jaded of the patrons - forget. If only for a fleeting moment.
They only came for the music really. It was more addictive than the alcohol they consumed, or the cigarettes they smoked. They scarcely ever noticed the play©er. Not that they were supposed to notice him anyway. He was just a tool for the music. More of an instrument then the piano he played.
Skyler wasn't very eye-catching anyway. Short and bony, rather fragile looking. Long red hair caught back neatly with a brown ribbon that matched his eyes. He always wore an oversized sweater too. Not that anyone ever bothered to notice.
But they did notice his music. It was why they came, after all.
So when they all wandered out, late in the night, smelling of smoke and liquor and loneliness, if Skyler liked to cry a little, it didn't matter. All that mattered was the music.
It was why they came, anyway.