I watched him sitting at the dark corner of the bar. Away from the jukebox and the bathrooms. In an area people seldom walked by.
I was nodding. Waiting for a connection. Everybody was nodding. Nodding off. Nodding at one another. Nodding at invisible demons. We were all waiting too. I had the luxury of knowing what I was waiting for. Not everybody in this bar at this time of night had that luxury.
I watched him sitting at the dark corner of the bar. Occasionally, when someone left the bar, he would dart out of the dark corner and pour the dregs of the abandoned glass into his maw. Then he would retreat back to his corner and gnaw on cocktail napkins.
God I wanted to go home. God I wanted a fix. God I wanted to stop watching this little rat faced man drinking the dregs of the glasses of strangers and eating cocktail napkins.
I could not. Not one of these things was possible at this moment in time. I couldn't have my fix without I connected.
I could not connect if I left the bar.
If I was at the bar the little ratfaced man in the dark corner drinking the dregs of the glasses of strangers and eating cocktail napkins held me transfixed.
My heart began to swell. My hands began to sweat. I teared up. Why was he eating the cocktail napkins?. Was he hungry? I pondered, for a while, what to do.
I sent a beer over to him. The bartender looked at me like I was crazy. I sent the guy a Budweiser.
When the bartender set the bottle in front of the rat faced man he asked him who sent it. The bartender pointed to me. The rat faced man looked over and raised the bottle to me. I raised mine to him. We both nodded.
He started to get up and walk over to me. To talk. There were about ten of us in that bar and we were all sitting apart. Nodding. In our own little worlds. Sitting apart and not talking to each other. Not being people. Just professional drunks. (That's why we go there.) He was going to connect.
I panicked. I had teared up and I was kind of enjoying the melancholy.
He just walked past me and into the bathroom.
Never even looked at me.