Fallen Angel – 1

 

 

“Damn her! Who the fuck does she think she is?” I swore to myself

as I drained the drink before me. “Barkeep?” I called. Getting his

attention, I indicated the empty glass. “Hit me again, willya?”

I could tell by his expression he was trying to decide whether or

not to cut me off. I put on my most charming smile as I said, “Rough

day.”

He grunted a non-committal reply and reached for the bottle of JW

Red. Throwing a few ice cubes in a glass, he poured out a double shot

and placed it in front of me. He stood there frowning, his hand holding

the glass.

It took me a moment to realize he was waiting to be paid. So much

for the kind, understanding bartender. I reached for my wallet in the

inside pocket of my sports jacket. And nearly fell off the stool. I

grabbed the bar to steady myself, and grinned in victory, seeing the

wallet in my hand.

“I dunno,” the bartender said. “Maybe you’ve had enough for

tonight.”

I managed to remove a ten from the wallet and placed it on the bar.

“I’m okay. Really I am. Keep the change. This’ll be the last one

anyways. I still got people to go and places to see before the night is

over.”

Shaking his head, he picked up the ten with one hand and pushed my

drink closer with the other. I breathed a sigh of relief as he walked

away. I guess I was getting a bit sloshed. What was this? My fifth?

Or was it my sixth?

I glanced at my watch and was a bit surprised at how blurred it

appeared. I found closing one eye helped a bit. God, I’d been here for

at least an hour. Five drinks in an hour? (Or was it six?) Doesn’t

matter. Seeing as I was drinking doubles, I realized I was on my way to

getting royally shit-faced. If I wasn’t already there.

And it’s all Ellie’s fault. God damned, heartless bitch! As the

pain flared once again, I took a deep swallow from my drink. The liquid

still burned on its way down.

Ellie. Elizabeth Marian Hansfeld. My heart’s desire. My reason

for living. My best friend. My lover. My roommate. My fiancee. My

everything. Everything, that is but my wife!

My thoughts returned to the argument we had at dinnertime. It was

one we’ve had quite often lately. Marriage. I wanted to get married.

Ellie didn’t.

She said we had everything we needed– love, trust, commitment. She

didn’t see the need for some stupid ceremony and piece of paper. We

didn’t need some clergyman or city official telling us we were husband

and wife, as if the words were some magical incantation.

Ellie is a dyed-in-the-wool feminist. Smart, independent, decisive.

 

She believes in equality of the sexes, a woman’s right to control her own

body, life and destiny.

She’s not one of those radical, bra-burning, butch male-haters. Oh,

she’s marched many times in support of several feminist causes. Matter

of fact, we met the first time at a Pro-Choice rally. Ellie’s admitted

to having several female lovers before she met me. She’s also had

several male lovers as wells. Not sure why, but I always felt more

threatened when she’d discuss the female lovers.

I, on the other hand, tend to be more old-fashioned. I still

believe a man and a woman can meet, fall madly in love, get married, move

to the little house with the white picket fence, have babies, and live

happily ever after.

However, I really blew it tonight when I said something about it

would be nice if she had my name. Ellie started yelling something about

my being a chauvinist pig. How all men wanted women as possessions,

chattel, treating them as objects for their sexual gratification. Hurt,

I fought back. Accused her of being cold, heartless. Accused her using

either sex for her sexual gratification.

There were a great many angry words thrown back and forth. I

remember saying something about if she didn’t love me enough to marry me,

maybe I’d be better off finding someone who did. She said something

about tonight might be a good time for me to start looking. I stormed

into our bedroom and started packing a bag.

My anger had cooled by the time I finished packing. As I headed to

the living room, I hoped Ellie would say something, anything, that would

give me an excuse not to leave. As I entered the living room, Ellie was

on the phone, crying.

“Please Karen, hurry. I can’t stand the thought of being alone

tonight.”

The fucking bitch! I wasn’t even out of the apartment yet, and here

she was on the phone to one of her lezzie lovers. Anger, resentment,

(fear?) filled me as I listened to her. Grabbing my bag, I stormed out

of the apartment, slamming the door as hard as I could.

I drove for a while. Had no destination in mind. Just needed to

keep moving. Afraid if I stopped moving, the world would end. After

about an hour, I had a sudden urge for a drink. A great many drinks. So

many that hopefully I could kill the pain that was gnawing at my heart.

So here I sat. The alcohol was working. Oh, the pain was still

there, but I didn’t feel it. As a matter of fact, I felt nothing. I was

numb all over.

I glanced at the mirror behind the bar. Why do all bars have

mirrors? Is it so we can see how horrible we look? Or is it so we can

see the pain and anguish in the faces around us? And by seeing others

hurt as we do, somehow lessen our own pain?

I scanned each reflected face, trying to determine if any were as

filled with pain and regret as mine. There was an old man lost in

thought, perhaps remembering a lost love?. A smiling couple oblivious to

the rest of us, as they played at the mating ritual. A young fellow

staring at the glass in front of him. I wondered if his girlfriend had

thrown him out tonight, too.

And there was an angel. An angel? God, she was beautiful. A mass

of thick, wavy hair as black as night, which framed her face. A clear,

pale complexion that had the look of porcelain. Her face was angular,

arched eyebrows, high cheek bones, a straight nose, and a pouting mouth

complete with full, sensuous lips.

But her eyes! I realized it must have been the booze. But they

seemed to shine like twin beacons. I felt as if I was being sucked into

their greyish depths.

As if she sensed me, her eyes locked onto mine in the mirror. A

slight smile played at the corners of her luscious mouth as she tilted

her head in a quizzical manner.

Ashamed at my behavior, I quickly averted my eyes. I took another

deep drink, and nearly choked as it went down the wrong passage.

Hesitantly, I again looked in the mirror, to find her staring intently

back at me.

Suddenly fear hit me. I didn’t understand why, but I suddenly had

the feeling I should get out of there. I lurched off my seat as a spasm

hit my stomach. I raced to the back of the bar and just made it to the

washroom as my stomach heaved.

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