THE BAR

I sat staring at the two men from across the room. There reflections were visible through the shiny underscore of the bar. It was metal and shined with the all the luminence of the dying neon in the window. Through this strip of metal, I could watch and listen to the conversations of a thousand lives. Here, I could enter another dimension; one that made me invisible, and yet I found that the opposite was true on this night. 

One was sitting at the fire engine red booth facing outward. He was on the outside of a woman on the same bench. She was drinking a coffee filled with sugar. I could see the scattered packets strewn about the fake marbled table. The other was leaning against the bar with his arms crossed. He was a distinguished looking man. His hair was slicked back with a snow white velvet suit. The man sitting next to the woman was disheveled, wearing all black, with hair matted and blanketing his eyes. Both of them stood intent on the other and uncaring about their demeanor in this bar, or how loud or obtrusive they maybe to the girl sitting next to the matted haired street rat.

I spent a good deal of time listening to their conversations about this girl. It intrigued me that she seemed to hear nothing of  their conversation, either that, or she was just plain apathetic. Either way, the two were very ambiguous of any feelings she might have had.

“She’s right about her life daniel.” The man in white didn’t seem to say anything that wasn’t definitive.

“Her life will only be the way you discribe it if she believes it cannot be better.” Daniel seemed unmoved at the white man’s suggestion.

“Life is not definite Luke.” Daniel added. “She still has so much more to do.”

“Daniel, you have always been so gleefully optimistic. You of all of us know better than to think that she will change who she is,” luke leaned forward ruffling his white suit, “she is who she is. She is only going to be what she has been. All the things that have happened in the last few hours are no ones fault. Her boyfriend left her for another girl. Her rent checked came back in the mail bounced. Her three month old child is malnourished, you and I both know that these things are not her fault.”

The girl began to cry as she took another drink of her coffee.

“Look at her,” he continued shamelessly, “I don’t blame her for being what she is.”

“You were always an interesting one Luke. You are so smart and cunning, and yet you lack the one thing that makes greatness. Vision. You think you know who she is? How do you know that she won’t raise a child out of her own dark situation to be a leader of the people? How can you know what happens. When she tries to kill herself, something could happen that you may never forsee?” Daniel brushed the hair out of his eyes. 

The man in white looked directly at Daniel. 

“If anything was planned I would’ve known about it.”

“Luke, we are what we are, and omniscient is not one of those things. I will tell you this. Let her alone, there is more planned for her than what you have concieved.”

The girl started sobbing loudly. Daniel as if giving the girl in the booth a lead stepped out of the booth toward Luke. The girl slid out of the booth knocking some sugar packets onto the floor. Luke started forward after her but Daniel stepped in his way. Her reflection grew larger and more distorted as she came toward me. 

“Daniel you fool, do you really want her dead. Let me talk to her; open her eyes.” Luke snarled at Daniel. 

“Now you think her life can be useful Luke. I thought that she was destined to be useless. No, we will watch.” Daniel seemed to know the girl’s mind. He watched and waited with a begrudging Luke as she strode violently pass me out the door and into the street. Her tears were reflections of her soul. I looked up from the reflection and out to the street. She was walking with intent, and I could see that Luke shared my sentiment from his flailing reflection in the bar windows. 

“Daniel, your girlfriends going to kill herself. Let me help her.” Daniel stood firm in Luke’s path. I on the other hand couldn’t. It was clear from the look in her eyes, from their conversation, this girl would kill herself. I stood from my booth, scanning the horizon of customers. There were only the regulars here, and the two men. The old couple with there typical mashed potatoes and sauteed roast beef, the drunk drinking his coffee to sober up before his shift started. They were all oblivious to the needs of this girl about to end her life. Daniel and Luke were arguing still. 

The girl walked forcefully into traffic, and I followed her. 

“HEY!…” It occurred to me that I didn’t even know her name. “Don’t do it!”

She turned to look at me and stopped dead. A giant metal mass drove by her making obscene gestures and swearing profusely at us. The wind from it passing next to her didn’t phase her. I ran toward her ignoring the shouts of the irate drivers, and dodging the oncoming traffic. 

“Listen,” I drew a breath “whatever they said to you, Luke and Daniel can’t save your life by arguing… don’t listen to them.”

She looked at me with a sense of dazed confusion. “What, who are Luke and Daniel?”  

“I thought you…” I stopped. 

I turned and looked back at the bar. In the window were the regulars, and Luke and Daniel. As I turned back around, she grabbed my hand and held it to her heart. 

“Luke and Daniel are not my friends, and they are not yours. Look.” She motioned toward the bar. Luke and Daniel stood in the doorway yelling at each other. 

“You idiot! How could you let her lead him out of here.”

“I’m sorry, Luke.”

“You have to learn that every case is separate… you should never have gotten us side tracked on the case of that damned girl Daniel.”

Her hold on my hand clenched tight. Just then, a car crashed into the bar. It went straight into the bar killing the regulars instantly. Daniel and Luke stood there unphased.

“He’s not going to be pleased.” Daniel said as he wiped the blackness from his eyes. Luke stared through me and smiled grimmly.

“We’ll get him next time.”

“Be careful,” said her still quiet voice. I turned to the girl to find that there was no body accompanying it. She was gone, and it began to rain.

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