Vague Thoughts, Incomplete Stories & Random Ideas

The Barman

Once upon a time there was, and probably still is, a quiet and solitary barman working in a small café few people ever go into. The small café is in a pretty, small town, populated by quiet people and a few tourists. These few tourists are usually lovers, lovers of all ages. They arrive to this small town by train, arriving from opposite directions.

If they are under twenty years of age, they meet in the small, pretty town in the morning, kiss at every corner, then cry and hug in the afternoon at the train station platform as they see each other off. If they are older, they reserve a room in a b&b, where they spend hours making love, and only leave the room in the evening to go have dinner in a cozy restaurant.

Whatever their age, the lovers always end up finding their way to the small café where the quiet, solitary barman has been working for many years. He recognizes them immediately but says nothing. He takes their order and lets them sit for as long as they wish without intruding. He knows that if they are talking they have just met, and that if they are silent their time together is about to come to an end. Sometimes he sees them twice, when they’ve just arrived and are chatty, then again when all they do is nostalgically gaze into each other’s eyes and forget to drink their coffees.

Sometimes he recognizes lovers from years before, there again, after much has happened in their respective, separate lives. He knows they’ve been there before by how they walk in. The look in their eyes, the way they scan the café, remembering the first time they were there. How they move to a specific table without hesitation. Yet somehow they never notice him. They have no idea he’s the same barman. All they see is each other. The few moments of perfect, idealized love demands all of their attention.

Yet the barman is very likely the only one who knows of their affair, he’s the only one who has witnessed their unfiltered gazes. He also knows most of them will never see each other again. They have lived a perfect day of love, and in but a few hours they will return to normality, back to jobs and husbands. He knows all this because he’s seen hundreds, perhaps thousands of couples passing through.

So he doesn’t mind being invisible, he feels connected to them. Soon those lovers will part ways and leave their love in that café, in the custody of a quiet and solitary barman they didn’t even notice, who will silently keep the traces of their fleeting love affair in his heart, for perhaps longer than they will themselves.

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