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At a Dive Bar With Friends

At a Dive Bar With Friends

When I left the house she texted she was going to be late. I was running on time so now I had time to grab a drink before she arrived. I ordered red wine. She texted again she was going to be another 10 minutes late. To pass the time I checked my mobile accounts and news stories. Nothing new. She messaged again. She was on her way. At this point she was 25 minutes late. I was enjoying my wine, so it rolled off me.

She showed up. No hug. I pretended like we were old friends. “It’s been a while since we’ve talked,” I said. I had never seen this women sitting next to me. She had no idea who I was. But we had exchanged a few messages and photos online and here we were.
“Yeah, it’s been a long time.”
“Maybe six months. The spring right?”
“Feels like longer than that.” A few months back we matched but never ended up meeting for drinks. We planned to meet, but I went running in the morning and decided I was too tired to meet-up. The date evaporated. Then I hit the road for the next four months.
“I think it was the spring.”
“So how was your day?”
“OK, I guess. Got my haircut. Hate it. Took a nap. Super into naps these day.”
She rolled her eyes.
“I’ve been up since 5am.”
“Wow! That’s a big thing. You always get up that early?”
“Yeah. I’ve been consistently waking up around quarter to six.”
She took off her jacket with an anti pipeline button on it. She was wearing a black cotton tank top. She was covered in tattoos scattered like stars rotating around many suns.

She began to talk about her dying father and how there was going to be a payday for her. I told her about my parents who past and about the payday and how it didn’t really change anything, but was mostly morbid and final. She argued that the financial stability and security comforted her. I couldn’t help but think about all of us, sons and daughters of the baby boomers living out our dreams on the wealth of our mothers and fathers and wondered where it was going take us. Probably a lot of wondering and self interested exploration.

She went to the bathroom. I stared into the large windowpane behind the bar as I sipped my wine. She returned from the bathroom and we continued talking. After a couple of minutes she abruptly stood up and said, “I’m going to go now.”
“I’m going to give you a hug then I’m going to leave.”
I stood up. We hugged. She left.

I had one more glass of red. I felt a sense of loss, but reminded myself that there was nothing to lose. The bartender asked me what else I had got going on that evening. I told him about a local singer-songwriter show on 17th Street. He told me the place was a dive and for the most part he was right. But that’s where I feel most at home, at a dive bar with friends.

About Kevin Riley

Kevin Riley has been a rock climbing and general outdoor enthusiast since 1998, served as the associate publisher for Climbing and Urban Climber magazines, and co-founded the Denver-based non-profit, First Ascenders. He graduated from UMASS (Amherst).

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