A Short Story
Life had been hard, but it had been fun, and tonight was no different as he sat in a bar amongst friends and colleagues. The pub was full of smoke, good times, and hard drinks as the group of men left all their baggage outside on the sidewalk, nothing to worry about at least not for the next couple of hours. He had nothing to worry about in general, the self committed bachelor as his friends referred to him, wasn’t facing a deadline of 10:00 p.m. in order to let the dog out. The world was his stage and he was free to do what he wanted. It wasn’t that he didn’t have girls interested in him, or that he didn’t have a few on the side who were infatuated with him, both options probably were more truth than fiction, it was more or less that he was holding out for something better.
As the bartender set them up with another round of double whiskey shooters, he leaned back in his chair and took in the whole scene. This was his life, day in and day out, sitting in the same bar stool waiting for paradise to walk through that bar door and take him someplace new, someplace different, someplace exciting. While his friends discussed their mediocre work days, the less than interesting home improvement repairs, or the amount of dirty diapers one kid could go through in a day, he sat idly attentive as the hours fell off the clock and the drinks fell into his lap. Nothing changed for him, no matter how much he begged it too, everything remained the same. He felt cheated, that some how life had passed him by while he watched it from a bar stool, but that wasn’t enough to get him to change his ways. The demons were kept at bay when he drank and he wasn’t ready to face them alone, not since she left him standing at the altar holding onto false promises and empty feelings.
They had dated on and off for almost a decade. They went to high school together, prom, college, and were ready to get engaged the first time when he was called to serve his country. She waited, but he didn’t. Upon coming home he broke it off completely and left. It wasn’t entirely his fault as he had other things that took precedence like trying to figure out what to do next after the war took from him irreplaceable things. Within a year he came crawling back and she opened the door for him, but when the time came for him to ask her to be his wife it was her turn to flee. Two years after that, she walked in and apologized, he accepted. The week before their dream wedding, he relapsed and drove his car into a tree. At the hospital as she wept for the life they both wanted but refused to work for, she promised she would stand strong and be his loving wife. The day of she bailed and left him a tear stained note explaining that she loved him but she wasn’t in love with him. He took it as the final chapter in a damaged relationship. From that day since he found his home on the bar stool listening to his friends marriage troubles, kid troubles, and house troubles. The self committed bachelor had finally lived up to his name.
He reflected on all of that, especially her. She was the only thing he couldn’t quit. She was the only addiction that drove him insane, and she was the hardest thing to recover from. It wasn’t the hangover; it was the heartache that drove him to tears. He thought he was finally done with it all when he watched her walk into his bar. The world stood still as she elegantly flowed into the room. His heart leapt, his knees weakened, and he lost his will to remain on that bar stool, until he noticed the diamond on her finger and the gentlemen walking in behind her with a hand on her back. She noticed him, gave a smile and a wave and walked out of his life one more time. She was the hardest thing to quit as she was his only addiction. He set up another round and stayed on his barstool.