September 16, 2012

Two: Peace In the Nothing

Twice in two evenings she appeared as quickly as she’d disappeared. And both times she materialized during the late hours when the sea farers packed up their wallets and shuffled their tips on the bar. She sat and she watched. Her eyes and hair the same color as the whiskey she nursed. She missed nothing, and yet never focused on one thing.

He’d tripped over the hole in the wall bar—his favorite kind of bar, truth be told—on an impulsive drive. The studio should be calling his name. The need to get back to the familiar and the tactile board of his studio had distracted him for the last four weeks.

But as soon as he’d gotten back to the Sanctuary it was obvious that wasn’t what dragged at him. Restless, he’d tried the ocean and his family. The kids filled the void as always. His boys and the indulgent half smile of his daughter that mirrored his own had eased the ache for a while. But as always, August moved too quickly. School and the promise of football packed away some of the yawning days.

Until it didn’t.

Until the lines of the road offered his only solace. He’d followed the coastal roads until he’d seen signs for New York. Thinking he’d go back into the city, to the penthouse suite he’d purchased in the spring, he’d crossed the border. But instead of the city, he’d followed the water again. Through towns and roads he’d never traversed. With all his years on the road, he was surprised there were roadways he’d never been on.

The coastal town had lured without fanfare. They didn’t give two shits about who he was. In fact he was greeted with a skeptical brow instead of the maddening gasps of recognition.

He was a stranger here. And he liked it that way.

So close to his life, but far enough away to feel like he could start over. At least for a little while. All he needed was a little while.

It was off season. Hell, he wasn’t even sure there was a true season here. All he knew was that he’d driven until he found the eclectic lighthouse with the weathered sign. He’d called and rented it on the spot for two months.

The woman stood up, dragging him away from memories and his own twisting thoughts. She tipped the last drops of her whiskey back. Her elegant neck worked with each swallow. He knew it burned. Missed the burn sometimes, but didn’t miss the free fall into stupid. He gulped instead of sipped. And when you gulped, you went with wine. He liked his liver and intended on being buried with all his original organs.

A jangle of copper chains and beads curved over her wrist, peeking from the layers of thermal and plaid she wore. A cross dangled into her palm before she clenched her fingers around it. Dressed like a local and yet not quite. Butter soft cords hugged her hips, giving a hint of curves under the bulk of warmth. She was no fisherman, and definitely no long shore worker. He wasn’t sure what she was, but the woman didn’t seem to fit in with any of the familiar working class people that were growing roots into their bar stools.

 She walked toward him, her butterscotch eyes finally resting on his face. No trace of recognition, not even a hint of interest. Instead of walking on by like she’d done the night before, she stopped.

He looked up at her. “Hello.”

She scanned his face, his shoulders, his neckline. His heart kicked at his breast bone and pounded at his temple. Finally her gaze slid back up to meet his and held. “Hello.” Her voice was as smoky as her choice of liquor. Then she turned and pushed through the door.

He tapped the stem of his glass and wished for a cigarette for the first time in over a year. He forced himself to stay in his booth. To finish the bottle and not chase after the woman, but her hauntingly steady gaze stayed with him. And the wine lost its soothing quality.

“Shit.” He stood and left a pair of twenties by his glass. Outside, the bite of the water soaked air slapped at his face clearing his head. He hadn’t expected the gnawing lust. Hell, he was half convinced that he’d tapped himself out after the divorce. A string of women and too many parties had filled the first two years after he and Dot had divorced.

He was tired. He couldn’t remember a day when he hadn’t been tired.

And now with a third year of single status under his belt, he couldn’t be bothered with anything more than schmoozing. He’d been certain his dick was in retirement. And he was happy to leave it there most of the time. Now, with a single word he was back in play.



September 14, 2012

One: Between Midnight and the Dawn

She didn’t know what it was about The Bar. Maybe it was the name. In the city, it would be a pretentious name that the cool people would flock to. It would be an ironic place that only the In-the-know people would stamp as theirs. Even if their definition of ironic was about as correct as Alanis Morrissete’s. But here, in the heart of Prince’s Bay, New York it was just because Patrice Murphy had inherited the place from her father, and her father from his father. And the Murphy’s were good people, just not very imaginative. So the name, The Bar, stuck.

And while there was more than one bar in her little town, there was only one The Bar.

And here, she could sit in the corner each night. She could soak up the life of others with her one tumbler of Tyrconnell, neat. Sometimes it was the conversations between the sailors that lined the bar bitching about the day’s haul, sometimes it was a few bar flies looking for company, sometimes it was a businessman that had tripped over her tiny town on his way out of New York. Like the one that sat by the door with his ever full glass of white wine.

She didn’t talk to them, but she liked to listen.

Sometimes it was the steady hum of conversation that stopped her from feeling alone. Sometimes it was just knowing there were other people out there. She needed the interaction. She’d go mad in her workshop without it. When she was working she needed the loneliness. Her work required the heat and the emptiness.

But she’d learned over the years that the lapping of the water on her dock could drive her slowly insane in the hours between midnight and sunrise.

She sat back against the smooth wood of her tiny booth for one. The cracked vinyl seat would bite into her left thigh, and a tiny chip of wood on the underside of the table would be there for her thumb to worry over as she watched.

As she soaked in the sounds of people that kept the madness at bay.

September 11, 2012

The Nights are Never Long Enough

What if the only time you saw your lover was after midnight?

And you’re only allowed to see her for four hours.

What if you wanted more…

And she says no.