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One Bar For Me

She Watches Me

By Michael O'ConnorPublished 3 months ago 5 min read
Drawn by Myself

I awaken likening a cold slab of butter left to refrigerate too long as I pull myself from the flashing of a wild dreamscape and fasten my newfound feet to the Earth. Welcome back. The echoes whisper and then raise their ugly voices out into the neighbourhood. Instead of melting softly in a pot with sips of my morning coffee, tenderizing to the touch of warmth surrounding my exterior, I remain cold and hard and tense in my position on the shelf beside fresh and unused resources. A beer is required. I ride to the garden cafe - not walk, and sit in the restaurant - not the cafe. The lady knows my order too well and produces precisely one, Saigon beer “cam on chi”. I blast fast guitar paired with wicked lyrics to match my enraged and unstable mind. I take out a fine liner pen which is mostly the only one I draw with anymore. The sketchy pictures are a simple way to portray the facts of my inner turmoil. The faces are all both jagged and smooth with patchy and dark coloured edges, all screaming to be heard as they leap from the page to the person. I notice the awareness of the faces around me, they surround me with an awareness that a screaming soul is present and determine that it’s in need of soothing. They gently nod their heads to the sound of music outside the cafe, and ensure it’ll all be okay.

I nod in return with a hopelessness that shows, one that certainly is not hidden. I know it will not be okay, but I hope that it may. I get another beer and scribble another picture - one of a man wearing a long face and the earbuds of his headphones are darkened heads screaming into his ears. Imagine obscenities. Imagine the thought of being cruel whilst knowing another has the same suffering as you, the suffering of the inevitable human being caught in the one disastrous thing our souls cannot escape - life.

It’s time to pay and I drag my scorching bare feet on the concrete below toward the counter where the man is waiting. After paying, he turns to walk inside and sings one bar of a song. He enters the house and I leave the restaurant. He knows the pain that I feel, he understands the sadness that is buried deep within the soul of his fellow man before him, and so he sings.

I hide in the bed with the pink sheets pulled to work as a cover up for my sadness. The tears begin to bellow their way through grasping eyes that attempt to hide. There is no way this can be all that there is, but maybe this is as good as it gets. I hide some more and decide food is a better option than crying, food will always help where comfort cannot. Food is comfort after all. And comfort food comes in the form of a Banh Mi once more.

“Anh oi, mot, vui long.”

Nobody really used ‘vui long’ here. ‘Thankyou’ is more than common and used as an acknowledgement of love and of gratitude for both parties, but ‘please’ however, is not. I use it anyway. The ride tells me I need another beer but my heart simply will not allow it. It is not the time. I stop at the minimart on our street, and holler at the man who I now know by name. I purchase one can of Wonderfarm, a can of maybe winter melon juice that I’m certain will soothe my worries.

“Ahh, ten okay.”


“Yes, muoi.”

“Okay, cam on, hen gap lai.”

I turn to get back on my bike and the man here too, saw the something in my eye that he recognised on the level of the soul. He too, knew that we were all suffering, that life was Dukkha, and so he sang one bar of a song for me as he walked into his home.

I arrive at my home and share a moment with the others. She’s smoking a joint in the bedroom and he’s not feeling his task. The household is in uproar as none are functioning well on this day, and obliteration of self seems a necessary means of ending the day early, still we wait, holding on tight for that sweet, everlasting moment to finally come and encompass my soul with dust and love and wonder. I throw a movie on after eating and drinking and sink gently into the couch that wraps around my body and nurtures the tiny blue bird inside of me, while the dog nuzzles his head in my direction. I pat him and try to pass out. I try to no end and try and try again, though it’s of no use.

I chat to my brother who suggests that I just go get pissed.

“Go to Havana, at 10k a pop, why not?”

“Alright I’ll go have a couple and meet you there.”

My friend was too busy to meet me there tonight, but said she was doing origami at the bar on a Thursday night and some other people joined so maybe I could come to that. I said I’d like to.

I jump on the bike and feel the cold harsh rain on my skin as I’m reminded that existence is finite and must be nurtured, the tears from the sky batter down on the rivertop as I peer over the water while crossing the bridge. The bikes are all taking it slower due to the weather, a possibly wise suggestion to myself, yet I still accelerate around the ones taking up the road in front of me. I feel lost. Peering at each sign that comes.

Is this it?

Nope, it must be the next one, then..

Is this it?

Nope, still not it.

Then I pull up at Havana, the spot, the safe haven from the injustices of the world, walk inside with my notebook to scribble down some enlightening poems or useless facts about my day, in a hope to spark somebody else’s eternal nothingness, a proposition to their soul. I walk to the couch and seat myself, where usually there is a divider. This couch is made for two. But there is only one. A girl peers across at me as I write and watch the street passing by, she’s curious about me. I’m curious about her. The lady fetches my Saigon beer and an ashtray and I continue watching the world. The jazz music keeps on playing, the bikes keep on riding by, and the blue lights are still turned on.

This is the one bar for me.

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About the Creator

Michael O'Connor

If you like my content, you can purchase my published short story in ebook or paperback on Amazon!

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