“Would you like something?”
I shook my head as politely as possible. He’d asked me this for the sixth time that night and now I was starting to feel bad; for someone other than myself. There is something about an unused conscience that forces it to get on court, especially, when not required.
I should want alcohol, right? I should want to drown the coherency of my senses into a quiet sin of choice. For grief is best measured (and acknowledged) when found lying on the bathroom floor– either puking, passed out or in the form of absurd hysterics.
That’s all acceptable. But grief in the form of silence and withdrawal and a refusal to socialise? Not so much.
An hour later, the bartender returned once again. This time with a slightly tender look. We didn’t seem to need words any more.
What good had they done, anyway?
Eight hours in the bar, sulking in my sobriety, I had managed to communicate with this man so much more effectively than I had been doing with myself.
I neither nodded nor did I utter a word. My silence, for once, did not commit an act of reckless indulgence.
He brought me a glass of scotch.