I was itching to shake the boredom out of a Wednesday afternoon, so I headed up to my local watering hole to replenish my parched soul. I sat outside the Bar & Grille, with the lone company of a middle-aged woman at the next table. She was mid-afternoon drinking, like myself, beer after beer, lonely, isolated in the crowd and looked to be quite distraught. She was a woman whose youth was unraveling and seemed to be discontent with this natural necessity. You could tell, she was trying desperately not to lose grip with that last remnant of outer beauty she held. But unfortunately, it was being slithered away by them damn ruthless years that so many folks try to defy.
The sad woman just sat there, people watching, observing and judging the emotions on the passer-by faces. She shook her head in disgust when loud music drove by with teenage kids at the wheel. She gave subtle smiles to cute little kids walking with their parents. The woman’s deep set envious eyes looked with scorn upon the delightful, pretty women who strolled by. She stared them down as they passed, leaving only the fading sound of high-heels on sidewalks and the lingering scent of youth. Her colored black hair sat softly on her shoulders, makeup intact with lines of a struggling love life delicately protruding from her eyes. Her life has not been pleasant. She was sad.
After her fourth beer, she took her phone out of her pocket and started to play sad songs. I’m sitting about 8 feet from the despaired queen, acting like I’m still reading the JFK biography I have in my hand. But I’m highly disturbed with her solitude. Her tormented melancholy was absorbing me into her forsaken world. After one song, I hear sniffling and with my third-beer-peripheral vision, watched a black mascara tear fall down her aged, over blushed cheek. Confused on what to do, I let her be. The music became louder from her phone along with her sniffling. I started to scrutinize in my head all the possible reasons she was in this state of dismay. She looked to be a woman who might have just found her husband in bed with a young lover, or maybe even her best friend. Or due to the neglect of a passionate touch and void of any sensation from her husband in years, followed through with her exotic passions and committed the ultimate act of betrayal. She reminded me of a woman in an Edward Hopper painting, alone, with only the mystery of her misery.
The poor youth deprived lady was sitting, facing her mortality with fear of a forever desertion of love. Her loneliness was profound and her forlorn presence dissipated any courage I thought I acquired to ask if she was alright. As I paid my check and left, I was frantically hoping that this fruitless Wednesday in mid-afternoon loveliness wasn’t her last moments on this unforgiving earth. As D.H Lawrence once wrote, “We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.”