He stumbled towards the door, his fingers clinging desperately to a glass half filled with whiskey. He looked around, and took a glance behind him.
"Go to hell!" He yelled, at no one in particular, "you useless...". His voice trailed off into an incoherent mumbling. Suddenly, his eyes widened and his face turned red. He looked as though he was preparing to scream his lungs out but instead, decided to give up the idea. He hunched over, fell down to his knees, and his fingers lost their grip on his drink shattering his glass and spilling alcohol all over the bar's floor. The bartender shook his head in irritation, gestured to someone to help the man get up and clean up the mess, and went on serving his patrons their desired poisons.
"Just my night" thought Elaine, making no attempt to mask the disgust on her face as she walked over to the man hunched over on the floor, his face buried in his hands. "Hey!" She said, shaking his shoulder in an attempt to get his attention. "Hey, you need to get up and leave now. Oh, but where are my manners? Thank you so much for such a thoughtful gift of spilled alcohol and broken glass. You sure know how to get to a girl's heart!" She knew quite well that talking to him this way was probably not such a good idea, but she has a long and irritating day, and she was pissed off.
"The way to a girl's heart" he chuckled through the occasional gasps that Elaine assumed were sobs. "I thought I found the way once. I must have gotten lost."
Elaine was in no mood to listen to whatever bullshit this pathetic drunk was spewing. She walked outside, called one of the guys working security, and had him thrown out. She went back inside, carefully gathered up the broken glass, and wiped away all the alcohol. Everyday seemed to bring at least one nut. As she went about her duties serving alcohol to the various people, her mind wandered over recent events in her life.
First, she saw her ex-boyfriend yesterday with some girl that wore way too much makeup holding hands, hugging, and even kissing. She was walking to the grocery when she spotted them on the sidewalk on the other side of the road. It was only because of some quick reflexes and crafty stealth that she managed to avoid them noticing her. He sure didn't take long to find someone, she thought. She was probably just some stupid, naive girl who thought he was just "so charming and facinating".
Then today she received a call from her mother. Her sister's boyfriend proposed to her in the most romantic way ever! She let her mom drone on over the phone about all the intricate details, waiting for the inevitable direction that the conversation would soon take.
"Look at your sister. Why can't you find a nice man to get married to?"
If she knew the answer to that question, things would have been a whole lot different. On second thought, she did know the answer: All good men are either gay or married. And things weren't any different.
And finally, to top it all off, after working a long and tiring day with these recent events weighing down on her soul, she had to deal with some idiot who decided to have a breakdown in the middle of the bar and create more work for her. She looked at her watch. It was almost closing time. She finished up her remaining work with inane efficiency and walked the hell out of there. The air outside was cool. It was dark, but the street lights lit the roads well enough. Her apartment was only a block away, and there were always a few people on the roads even at this time, so she walked. She was about head home when she noticed him, sitting on the curb. That damn drunk from the bar...only he didn't look drunk anymore. No, he was definitely sober. What the hell was he doing sitting on the sidewalk at this time? She walked toward him, slowly and quietly. He turned his head toward her, and she stopped. He turned his head back toward whatever it was he was staring at before he noticed her.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have drank so much. I got carried away and lost control of myself...and I made extra work for you. I waited out here to tell you I'm sorry." His voice had a rich rounded tone to it, but also carried a very noticably melancholy undertone.
"It's...it's alright." She said, stunned at the idea that he waited all this time just to apologize. She snapped herself out of it and continued "You didn't have to wait you know. It's not like I would have remembered you after tonight."
"Then why did you?"
"I don't know." He continued starting across the road.
"Well, you've apologized," she said breaking the silence. "What are you still doing here?"
"You were gonna head home...why did you walk toward me?"
"...I don't know." She looked at him curiously.
"Well," he said after a little while, "That makes two of us." Elaine watched him. Then, without knowing why, she sat down on the curb beside him. He never shifted his gaze. He took a deep breath, and exhaled a sigh. "Life is quite a trip huh? At one point in time you're drunk out of your mind getting thrown out by a beautiful woman, and the next you're enjoying the company of that very same woman." Elaine shifted uncomfortably...was he trying to hit on her?
"Why did you come out to drink tonight?" She asked quickly, trying to change the topic. "If you don't mind me asking."
"Have you ever taken a path that you've never driven on before, but decided to risk it because it seemed to go in the direction you want to travel?" She shook her head, her ponytail dancing in the wind. "I did once. Well, more than once actually. Almost always though I would turn around, or look at the map and find my way back to the road I was used to, out of fear of getting lost. Once...just once...the risk seemd worth it. And my God, it was a beautiful drive. I was just mesmerized by the scenes that zoomed past me. Everything was just extraordinary." He paused for a little while before continuing, "How and when I got lost in the middle of nowhere I still don't know."
"How did you find your way back?" Elaine asked, not sure what this had to do with anything. There was a minute of silence, broken only by the muted sound of music thumping from a club nearby.
"Maybe I'll find out some day," he said with the faintest of smiles. He paused for a while, looked thoughfully across the street and said "That was an amazing drive though. No matter what anyone thinks, I will never regret that decision. It was one of the happiest times of my life."
She looked at him, but said nothing. He continued staring across the road. They sat there together in silence for a while.
He then turned toward her, took her hand and held it in his. He smiled at her. His smile held long fought tears and pain, its slight trembling made it clear just why he had come there that night. Not knowing what else to do, she smiled back. He let go of her hand, stood up, and walked away. Elaine stayed there on the sidewalk for a couple of minutes. She then stood up, smiled, and walked on home.