I see her seated at the other end of the bar in a faux leather jacket, ankle boots, and cigarette pants, staring off into space like the wall of liquor had been replaced with constellations. I am enamored with the quiet beauty of hallelujah that seems to orbit around her like Saturn’s rings.
I choose a stool with a space for one between us leaving the potential for conversation open but not required. The bartender hands me a cheep faithful domestic and as I take my first sip she looks over at me and smiles, points her beverage at my matching one and says
“Cheers” with the same double meaning as when an astronomer says “Good evening.”
The stars send their Sunday best out tonight, and her eyes twinkle accordingly.
She is not pink and manufactured like the self-help books that used to adjourn Borders’ shelves. She is not an advertisement for cross fit, or the makeup counter at a department store. Not like there’s anything wrong with those things, but she is not here for improvement, and she’s not here to get bye, she’s here for understanding which the bar always seems to do.
As I salute her with my beverage, I see an innocence in her eyes that must get lost to most people that are too focused on her touch or the way she walks away. And while I know that feeling all to well, I stay silent because to women like us, apologies are worth less than the beer in our cans and typically come from a similar quality of folk. But we still drink because they’re everywhere and all we think they’re all we can afford.
So with a glance I say nothing, other than “I know.”
She finishes her drink and gets up to go to the bathroom. I tip the bartender and make my way out into the night.
Even in this city, little rays of light beam down from a place that was once the heavens, too far to touch but close enough to see if you squint one and a half of your eyes. The autumn wind rustles the leaves below my feet that are laced with the same stardust that made oceans that are thousands of miles away. I feel part of the trajectory-forward moving, if not improving, and limited only by my own design.