night. M Bar. A young woman enters. She hesitates at the door
it is more crowded than she had anticipated.
But she goes in anyway and sits at a table near the windows but
away from the door. The night is far chillier than the day had been.
She sits for a moment, as though surveying her position, then stands
abruptly and peels off her coat, ducking her head under her army-style
shoulder bag. She lets it all fall into a heap on the wooden bench
with an audible sigh. She pauses a moment, then sits again.
The woman places one hand over the other on the thickly varnished
table then lowers her head to rest her chin on her hands. She gazes
first at the yellow gerbera daisies in a long-since-emptied wine
bottle, then at the flame of an oil lamp whose wick is set too high.
Someone orders a glass of white wine. She watches. The room is
small. It is easy for her to listen to each conversation in turn,
but they do not interest her. The usual crowd of offbeat intellectuals
and solitary space-seekers has been replaced tonight with too-beautiful
college students and trendy early-20-somethings and a couple in
the corner making out ceaselessly.
She looks away.
Voyeurism is less enticing when you know you will sleep alone that
night. Besides they're sloppy kisses. She makes a mental
note about people who learned all of their lovemaking skills from
porn flicks and James Bond movies. When the couple rises to leave,
smiling secret smiles at each other, glitter fluttering on the girl's
eyelids, the woman smirks quietly.
She raises her head and stands. The bartender, a slender, solemn
Asian woman, greets the woman non-committally. When prompted, the
young woman orders a bottle of beer. It is a brand she has never
heard of, but adventure comes in many forms, and she is looking
for something unusual tonight. It has been a long day too
much work, no space or time of her own, and undeserved chastisement.
Besides she left work today looking for the opposite of
the oppressive, conservative, immaculate surroundings. Hoping for
messy. More fundamentally alive. She doesn't
find it in the beer.
She sits again, listening to the bartender explain to someone that
she's doing a workshop in Gestalt Therapy next week and she just
dumped her boyfriend because she likes him as a person but just
wasn't feeling it, attraction-wise. The young woman wonders briefly
what life would have been like in the 18th century. She hopes she
is less ordinary than these people.
Sipping her foreign and less-than-great beer, she notices suddenly
that she is the only one not drinking wine. She wonders what that
means. Probably nothing, she decides, and rests her head again on
her hands. She surveys the tiny room again. Nothing much has changed,
so she sips the beer again and reaches into her bag to pull out
a pen and a greeting card. The card has no relevance, but that,
she thinks, is why it would be a good one to send.
Three swarthy-looking guys saunter into the bar. They are big for
the space, and incongruous among the BMW-drivers and Gap-wearers.
The woman watches as they order three glasses of red wine.
She stares for a moment, not sure whether to be surprised or not,
then shakes her head slightly and sets her pen to her card to begin
a letter to a man who, in her opinion, blows the rest of the male
half of the human race totally away.
Monday night, she writes. M Bar.