He sat on the bar stool sipping the last dregs from the glass in front of him, trying to make it last, trying not to have to dig in his pocket and buy another drink. It was a case of time against beer. He looked at the clock ten minutes until closing time-- then back at his almost empty glass.

"Sod It," he said and swallowed the last dregs, catching the barmaids eye he ordered another beer. Surely, he thought, there must be something more than this. He sighed. Well there used to have been. Once there had been laughter and love.

His fresh drink arrived, and as he sipped it, his mind flowed back to what had happened so little time ago.

Was it only a month? He thought. His life had been so happy; She was there and everything was wonderful. Sure they had their ups and downs, but then who didn’t. He did not see the signs, the sadness in her eyes and the hurt looks that flashed across her face. Others did and tried to tell him, but he just wanted to be one of the boys, and took her far, far too much for granted.

Then one day she wasn’t there. He did not think much of it, but then she was not there the next night either. So he called her, and she did not return his call. Folks in the bar, whose comments he had not taken heed of, told him what a fool he had been. He called the next night and the next but she still did not answer, or return his calls.

All too late he realised what he had done and that it was over. The bottom fell out of his world.

He lost it that day, lost his will, his heart, his soul, he also lost several days in his drunken haze. Nobody would ever tell him afterwards just what he had done during those dark days of despair.

He heard later that she had found another, and that she was happy. He smiled wryly, if she was happy then it was okay. After all, he had his seat at the bar and his friends, and of course everyone thought all was okay as he laughed and joined in with the banter. But some knew he also had loneliness and a heart that would take a long time to mend.

Sighing once more, he finished his drink, said his goodbyes to the folks in the bar, and set of home to his lonely empty house once more. A place where his broken heart would ask a thousand times why he had taken her for granted.


Barry Eva 1999