THE PINT THAT FOLLOWS
And so, story unloaded and beer sunk, he asks me, "Do you think I've done the right thing?" Pause. Yes, I say, but not because it's what he wants to hear. Because it's true. There really is no point in being unhappy. We sit for a few minutes in comfortable silence. There are difficult weeks ahead, I say, but you’ll get through them. And then there’ll be something else, something new, and you’ll feel better. He smiles, half-believing me. I cringe at how rehearsed my response sounds, as if I've lifted it from a film.
Frothy dregs drained –
ready to be refilled
We'll be here again, having this pint. Maybe I'll be the one with the reddened eyes and sleep-starved skin. Maybe it'll be him. But regardless of which one of us it is, the other will be here. Buying the pints. Lending his ears.
First published in Another Country (Gomer, 2011)