It is amazing what one can see while looking at a glass. Not a drinking glass but the mirrored surface of a window glass in the late hours of a wet evening. I’d wandered into the establishment alone, which is something I never do, but I was sleepy, too tired to be behind the wheel of my car, didn’t want to nap in the front seat & wasn’t too sure of where I even was for I’d jerked myself out of one of those ‘micro-naps’ & realised I again, was lost. This place looked cozy, & for some reason, safe so I pulled in the lot & went inside. Not to stay, not to drink, not to social, just to get my bearings & TRY to become more alert. Narcolepsy sucks for the most part & yet I know when I shouldn’t be driving & this was one of those times.
No one inside was smoking but the lingering smell of that sultry blue haze from years & hundreds of patrons addictive bad habits were permeated into the wood now & no amount of bleach, Pine-Sol or elbow grease was ever going to remove that scent. The only way to eradicate it would be the all encompassing heat & flames of a blaze worthy of Mrs. O’Leary’s magnitude. I decided to ignore it for it was either the interiour of this place, or the discomfort of my KIA while I slept for 20/30 min. I chose inside.
The waitress sat me in a booth next to the front window which was fine. Im not really comfy sitting in a booth when Im by myself for if someone wants to sit down next to you, you’re basically trapped there & if the person who so rudely has plunked their happy self down is not in the mood to take ‘No’ as an answer, well- you get my drift.
I ordered a coffee from the woman who promptly tilted her head, snapped her pad shut, rolled her eyes & flitted away with a set to her shoulders that indicated she was not happy being bothered by a lone, sleepy woman in her section who ordered coffee & nothing else. In other words, I wasn’t worth her time. I so tire of people who feel Im not worth their bloody time so in my opinion, her attitude just severely halved her tip (but she didn’t know this)
In the 22.7 seconds she stood there however, my fuzzy brain took her in. Her colour was red, not a lively, ALIVE red, but the red of old blood, like a scab that had been hidden under a band-aide for too many days. It was blackish around the edges & it made her eyes tired & old. I looked at her hands & wondered if she perhaps had some sort of heart problem for her nails were both squared & dingy coloured indicating poor circulation & her legs had a road map of blue veins which made me wince inside for her for even after 32yrs of waitressing & kitchen work, I have nary a varicose vein. I am lucky.
I sat there alone, at first looking thru the glass into the street. I still wasn’t sure where I was, I hate when I go into these fugue states & end up sometimes in cities miles from where Im supposed to be, but I wasn’t going to panic. I had time, I had plenty of gas & when I got my head back awake, I would find out how to get home. The street was dark, with the yellow, one dimensional donuts of light that shone of no use but to those standing directly beneath the post itself. Had this been summer, bats would’ve been skipping thru these lights nabbing insects w/o missing a beat of their leathery, silent wings. But it’s a wet fall night & I saw no life on this side street, insect or mammal.
Gradually, I stopped looking thru the window & started looking AT it. I’ve a horrible habit of people watching, it comes from not being verbally gifted, (I do much better in writing) yet I try to not let others realise I’m watching them. So I stared @ the window, & to someone not knowing what I was doing, it appeared that I was staring out into the empty street.
The surface of the glass reflected the insides of the establishment like a backwards, darkened mirror & the bar was reflected ghostlike for it seemed to shimmer & shift with the lighting from outside and that alien blue flicker of the tellys over the bar.
As I drank my coffee, (3 creams/1sugar), I watched a couple in the back. They were speaking in sign language to one another, they seemed relaxed, @ ease with themselves & their surroundings prompting me to think they were regulars here, probably from the neighbourhood. They were in love, one could tell from just the way their eyes shone @ each other, how their hands spoke softly & how (if one could see them) their colours intertwined. It was a soothing blend of blue & turquoise & the colour it produced was more visible to me than the ghostly smoke that no longer wafted in those walls.
The line of men @ the bar however, took me awhile to take my gaze from, for they were grubby men, (not dirty) just grubby from working hard all day long probably outside & I found awhile back that I’m quite fond of grubby men. Two of them had yellow hard hats next to their stools, all were in plaid sweaty shirts, worn jeans, work boots & had dashing tans dark enough that made you want to find out where they started & ended & run your fingers wickedly along those lines. I watched them eating, one bite @ a time, while talking to each other, laughing @ their jokes & the telly. The other waitress (a blonde who was older inside than she was out) seemed comfy around them so here too, I surmised them as regulars. Watching these men interact w/each other, as they ate was a bit much tho for I was mesmerized @ how their shirts gathered just so @ the large, bulging muscles of their arms…