Browsing: Stories

Charles Waited

Charles waited at the bar for the world to catch up. He waited a long time. Occasionally, a raised eyebrow directed toward the bartender resulted in another gin and tonic, expertly made, on a clean napkin near his right hand.

He studied a poster near the door describing upcoming concerts. He was not familiar with any of the bands listed. One band name, An Electric Blue Suitcase, caught his attention, but he quickly deemed them unworthy of further attention due to their poor name choice. He returned to waiting.

The bartender was a good one and correctly sized up Charles’ desire for solitude. Or more correctly, desire for oblivion. Sleep would have been preferable – how nice it would be to just wake up and find the waiting over. But sleep had been elusive over the past few nights.
Two college-aged girls arrived and sat at the bar a few seats from Charles. Their contrast with the rest of the clientele, which consisted of Charles and one quiet couple in a booth, was striking enough to be mildly interesting. The quiet ambiance in the bar did not normally attract a youthful crowd. However, his interest fizzled after Charles noticed their rather juvenile matching friendship bracelets and witnessed their competitive flirtations with the bartender.

The couple in the booth paid their bill and left. A busboy appeared and cleared their table. A ceiling fan clicked overhead. The college girls conferred with the bartender about drink choices. Complex tequila cocktails garnished with chili peppers were ordered. Charles considered the shallowness of the originator of such a cocktail. The consideration was brief.
Time passed. At a certain hour, carefully determined through countless cell phone apps and marketing studies, the music genre changed from mellow to energetic. The inside lighting dimmed subtly. Streetlights came on outside. The college girls left. Other people came and went.

Charles waited at the bar.

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Alejandro’s Art

Alejandro sold his artwork on the street near the square. That is, he referred to it as artwork to the tourists who stopped at the shady spot where he spread his wares on a sheet laid on the smooth marble tiles. But it wasn’t really art, these painted squares of canvas-board. The work he sold had a distinct style not yet adopted by hundreds of other street artists in this city of tourists, and it sold well.

But it was his work, not his art. His art was something else entirely. Something he didn’t entirely understand. An art that raged within him, that demanded to be released. But when he tried to release it, to let it loose onto canvas or into clay, it somehow eluded him. Never quite happening the way he imagined in his mind.

And so his art remained in Alejandro’s mind only and the rage continued inside him and he didn’t know how to release it. It raged as he slept, as he ate, as he drank and drank still more. It raged in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening – in the evening most of all.

It raged as he continued to paint the trite artwork squares he sold to tourists.

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Paulo in Love

 

Paulo watched his daughter at the top of the slide and knew he was in love. In love with this tiny creature, just two years old, with dark eyes and braids. A slow half smile formed on his lips and stayed there. He was quite surprised to realize he hadn’t fully loved her until now, but it was true.

It was a quiet love, quite unlike the love he had once felt for her mother. That love had been a drama, building day upon day like water behind a dam. A dam that eventually would be overtopped and breached – the release both a relief and a catastrophe. His love for this child was different. It was sustainable. He would nurture and grow this love.

Morning sunlight filtered through the trees sheltering the small park where the slide was located. A gentle breeze cooled the air. The small café near the playground provided a pleasant background hum. The hum of laughter, voices and food being served. The hum of life.

Paulo was happy. Paulo was in love.

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