I found myself at that old bar again last night. Very little had changed. The barman still dressed in maroon robes, still wifted a strong odour everytime he walked over and poured me another round. His side help still letched at the women in the corner booth. Lennon still played in the background. The barstools still creaked and the bar still stank of stale beer and tears.
Very little had changed at the bar you see, but I hadn’t changed at all. I still liked my drink strong. I still liked it with a side of the special. I still liked the way my poison glistened when I picked up the glass and took a dreary sip. I was still bent over with the weight of a student loan, still carried my black outfit with an air of indifference…still wore my hair the way my mother taught me years ago.
I remember the last glass, I remember it shattering on the rug. I remember my mother’s voice playing in my head as I dragged myself to the clinic, ‘Stay happy after me, R. I will always love you.’ I remember doctors working on me, I remember him leaving. I remember debts and phone calls. I remember days locked up inside. I remember so much but I wish I remembered nothing of my breath at all. I remember dozens of nights spent screaming.
In the six months I hadn’t taken a sip of this clear gold boon, I hadn’t changed much. I was not happier, I was not leaner. The yoga sure didn’t help, the scars didn’t fade into nothing. I still worked downtown, I still fought for the bedridden, I still asked for a better pay.
There was one thing, though, that had changed. The taste of the bitter, crisp, sharp whiskey. It was just about a hundred times better, it was air to a drowning man. And for some reason, some unfathomable, highly oblivious to my mind reason, I felt like I was six again. My mother was braiding my hair, my father was breathing just fine. It shocked me, it beguiled me, it screwed with no head, how thirty ml of Jack could bring out a little girl in a violet dress from a grown alcoholic woman of twenty six sitting in a dirty old bar.