Neon lights gleam advertising various liquors appealing to the crowd through local team names and hot spots. The bar surface is sticky and cool beneath my palms, rough enough to dance with the hills and valleys etched across the skin. Low, bass notes interrupted by melodic singing fill the silence providing a background for my mind to rest upon.
“Do you want anything to drink? My treat.”
A soft smile breaks through the evening haze. Do I want a drink? Neurons fire rapidly demanding the sweet elixir to pass betwixt rosy lips and slither downwards through bowels to assuage their addiction. But is it addiction to the alcohol or to the relaxation accompanying it? Does it matter?
Lips are moistened nervously. Eyes glance around. Will anyone here judge if the offer were declined? Are they judging now?
Bass beats increase tempo throbbing against furiously working brain cells. The few remaining. Society dictates a certain social standard regarding liquor consumption. Depending on age, sex, location, society narrates every drop swallowed.
I should drink.
Grinning lips and sparkling teeth fold beneath the weight of impatience. Brain cells scurry even quicker across slippery floors freshly waxed with intelligence. An answer is required. Now.
But I’m scared.
Eyes close. Deep breath. Even the atmosphere hangs heavy in a drunken stupor. Does anyone here know what’s happening around them? The way the lights play across skin, across nook and cranny. Beauty in the darkest of places.
“No, I’m not much of a drinker.” A lie. Or is it? Wanting to drink and drinking are two different things entirely. One abstract restrained behind bars of civility, and the other painfully visible to appease society.
Those smiling eyes and glistening teeth grow dark. Shoulder blades replace their welcomed warmth and bartender speak fills the air.
My mind leans back against that familiar bass beat.
“Are you sure you don’t want anything to drink?”
Eyes look upwards. The atmosphere thickens desiring fellows in it’s heavy – eyed, slurred speech state. Why enter a bar and not partake of the time old tradition of drinking one too many just past one too many and groaning over work while bitching about ex lovers? Breathe.
“Yes. I’m sure.”
Eyes disappear ducking behind shadowy reservations and drink menus. The music quiets behind the lull of thoughts and miniature catastrophes.
Why am I here?