Wednesday, 16 May 2012
A man and a woman met in a bar on a rainy afternoon. No, it’s not a joke but a writing challenge. Three different pairs of characters and situations with this same premise.
She emerged from the bathroom reinvented. The evidence of her recent misdemeanor was hidden well enough and she was concealed behind a new persona, which she must now validate.
She needed an alibi. Someone must see her here at this hour so that her tracks were covered but the bar was deserted because of the weather. Lashing rain and wind was keeping patrons away, save one brave soul who was shaking himself dry by the door. She caught his eye and he followed her to the bar. He arrived abruptly and replaced the drink in front of her with his department badge. “Avril Harcourt you are under arrest….”
“Here’s to us.” Thomas raised his glass and smiled across at his wife of forty years. Sally was trying to read her husband’s mind with the long look she gave him in reply. “I love you, Tom.” He reached for her hand but he was looking over the top of her head. He’s so distracted tonight, Sally mused. These past few weeks he’s been very secretive. “Tom?” She ducked her head and caught his eye. He looked apologetic before he said, “Let’s order shall we,” and hid furtively behind the menu. She tried to pierce a hole in his shroud by glaring at the back of the wine list which he had raised between them. Her concentration faltered and she turned abruptly at a commotion behind her, “Happy Anniversary Mum”. She was overwhelmed by hugs and kisses and grandkids and offspring. Tom lowered the menu and grinned wildly. “Surprise.”
He had been here nearly two hours. Waiting. She wasn’t coming. They never do. An abrupt text had arrived in her stead. She blamed the weather. He had nowhere else to go so he stayed and ordered dinner and more drinks.
“This is the last one,” said a voice above him.
“Yeah, me too. I am not answering anymore of those dumb lonely hearts ads.”
“No. I mean I finish in ten minutes. Last order for drinks.”
He looked up and into a pair of soft brown pools that drew him in and almost drowned him with their caresses.
“Coffee,” she repeated.
“What? No. I don’t drink coffee. Your eyes… so brown…” His words hung unfinished as he returned to the dream which became a reality as she sat opposite. “Jodi.”
“Sam.” Time froze.
The breakfast crowd some hours later observed them there silhouetted in the window against the rising sun.