dear patrick
Actually, is that your name? I'm not sure but I thought you looked like a Patrick so that's what I refer to you as. First and foremost, thanks for always keeping my glass full with a fresh pint or two or five at the fine neighborhood watering hole where we met.

Maybe "met" is too strong a term to use for our barkeep/bar patron relationship, but whenever you ask me, in that beautiful, possibly Irish accent of yours, if I'd like another pint and I answer "Yes, Please." or sometimes even "Yes, Thank you.", I really feel like alot more has exchanged between us then just some beer and cash.

I spotted you the first night I went into the bar you work. My friends and I ducked inside from the cold and found ourselves transformed in this tiny, dark, rough around the edges pub lit only by tiny spots of white lights circling the mirror behind the bar and the rows and rows of bottles.

You stood tall behind the bar in the center of the room. A big watch clasped around a strong wrist, and your rolled up sleeves showed strong arms that moved quickly behind the bar. What completely endeared me to you was how you tucked your tie in between the second and third buttons from the top of your white cotton button down shirt. I pictured your name being Patrick, and you being a student of some sort from Ireland, perhaps working under the table with vague IRA connections. Just a decent guy trying to make a living. Later on when it was clear from my many visits to your pub that you worked the closing shift, I was a little concerned if a relationship was possible since I work days and you worked nights.

You saw me walking down the street once months later, do you remember? It was about 1:30am on Christmas morning, and I was walking down the side street past your bar towards my apartment. I was shivering in the cold dark and the block ahead looked miles away as my breath hung in the air like cigarette smoke. I walked past brownstones ablaze with Christmas lights with trees blinking in the picture windows. The heels of my shoes were clicking incessantly on the pavement as I walked quickly down the sidewalk and everything was silent except for me.

I rounded the corner past your bar and I could hear a door scraping, metal against sidewalk, the only other sound besides my loud footsteps. I looked across the street past the parked cars and saw you standing by the colored side door locking up at closing time. I knew it was you even from across the street, I could see that white button down shirt and the tallness in your stride. You had a purpose and dignity as you pushed at the door and fumbled with the set of keys.

We looked straight at each other from across the street on early Christmas morning, just a glance. I kept walking past you and clicking my heels on the pavement, a puff of my condensing breath was left behind me. I turned my head around to look behind me and saw you still watching me in the dark as you momentarily paused and leaned against the door. The white of your shirt made your figure stand out against the darkness of the early morning.

The street was deserted except for us, and as the only two human beings on the street naturally our eyes met. I kept walking forward and turned my head away from you, smiling, no long aware of the cold. I head a little more of the door scraping as I turned the corner, and then nothing.

If only I had been brave enough to wish you a Merry Christmas or at least smile. Maybe you would have even replied in that beautiful, possibly Irish accent. But these things didn't occur to me until I was back in my apartment far, far away from where ever you were.

-sara l.

Monday, March 05, 2001


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