In the back alley of New Jersey, Gilly was on her third bourbon. It was her second straight night. Five men down, she was about to gulp her sixth. The old tavern in her neighbourhood was home to her. It had seen all the faces and phases of Gilly over the past few years. The intelligent spectacles. The blonde slut. The blue haired hippy. The manipulative confidante. The lonely seeker. The plus one. The beers. The wine. The mojitos. Just like the ageing casks, she had moved to whisky now.
Although, she wasn’t getting better with age. Neither was she degrading. She was standing outside the door of impasse. She did not want turn around and get back into the field. She was equally hesitant to turn the door knob as well. Resigned to fatigue and yearning for pieces to come together, she called for one more glass.
After the first two drinks, Jim usually had conversations with the person seated opposite to him, himself. Even with no one there, no one found this interaction unusual. Because the conversations were so intriguing and interesting, everyone silently searched for themselves. It was one of those beautiful moments that happened every once in a while at the Tavern. Jim used to dig deep and bring out such a heady concoction of words and emotions that everyone wanted a glass for themselves. Some even waited for seconds. The bartender called it the Jim’s Special.
On the rare occasion when Jim called for a second bottle, he often ended up painting a self-portrait. The Tavern had put up many of these portraits on one of its walls. Each echoing a sentiment, a mood, a person that was present in the bar. Jim had just ordered for his second bottle.
Gilly had admired Jim for a long time now. She also fell in love with him once in a while. She had never taken to dark rum though. She wasn’t sure if she could handle it. Sometimes she thought she could take the rum and gulp it down too. But she often excused herself of it. The right time and place stood in between some time ago. Questions on compatibility often went unanswered. But today seemed different. She took the bait of weather change and started making her move towards Jim.
To the bartender’s puzzled look, Gilly replied, “It’s time for the Jim’s Special”.
As she seated herself in front of Jim, she switched the glasses. Jim gave her a disappointed smile and continued painting.
Gilly: “Pour some of me in that. I don’t taste bad you know”.
Jim taking a sip from the whisky replied, “I used to prefer this sour. But that was a different time, a different woman.”
Gilly: “This one lingers long after you’ve taken a sip. Give it time.” Saying that, she returned to the bar.
Jim continued as if the conversation never ended. He was still facing the seat where Gilly was seated.
Jim: “It reminds me of that old wound we once ached for. It’s like every sip has stories inside. Would you like to visit sometime? There are many stories back there.”
Jim: “But that’s what they are – stories. Why don’t you make one now and pretend like you’re telling an old one? Isn’t that what we usually do? Go to the cushion of past and wake dreaming dragons? And all this just to get into bed again with someone new”
Gilly had taken a liking to the rum. As she was twirling her fingers around the rim of the glass, quietly, she was also turning the doorknob.