Johnny was well aware of the patrons’ stares, their curious looks as he entered the small local pub down on Fairfax and 2nd Ave. The ghostly whispers floated through the smoky air and for anyone else they might have turned and left the place, but Johnny wasn’t just anyone else. He silently took a seat at the worn out wooden bar in a tattered stool that had seen better days. The rickety ceiling fans danced to the tunes blasted through the black speakers hanging next to the fanfare of pictures and plaques on the aged walls.
“What can I get you?” The monotone voice of the old bartender asked. His face showing a life long lived.
“Just a water.” Johnny replied.
The old man eyed him as if he was an escaped convict. What kind of man comes to a pub to order water? Not a common site. Johnny still felt the intense stairs baring through this back and burrowing deep into his spine. Why had he come? Maybe he felt it was his duty to spend St. Patrick’s day in a local pub, he hadn’t been real sure of why he came. Call it instinct, but something told him venture out from the safety of his one-bedroom apartment where he hulled up and hid away from the cranky world outside. The world where few accepted him and where most just stared at the scar. He was what some might call a rough neck or mans’ man. He had his share of fights and had broken hearts and maybe even some noses on the way.
Johnny watched as the barkeep placed the glass of water down on the little green coaster and eyed him once again. The thought crossed his mind to offer up his reason for the water over a tonic, but he figured he owed the man nothing. Once again the lingering thought of why he had come arose in the back of his mind and he was reminded of the letter he received three days ago. The letter from Lauren, his love and his life or at least she had been his life. Till she packed up and moved on, she had said he was too hard-nosed and stubborn. Hadn’t she known that when she said yes to his marriage proposal. Wasn’t that what she loved about him? Apparently not or at least it had changed. The letter had said to meet her here in this dump; she had done some thinking and wanted to talk. Johnny found it strange it would on this day, it was this day years ago when they met here in this dump enjoying the St. Patrick’s Day festivities. It was also the night he got into the fight and gained a scar across his face saving his damsel in distress.
“Hello handsome.” The gentle voice approached from the side.
Johnny turned to see his Lauren, as gorgeous as ever with her long blonde hair and hazel eyes. She traced his scar with her manicured finger and smiled. Reflecting he assumed on memories past.
“I am glad you came. I…I wanted to talk to you in person.” Her voice quivered.
Johnny sat silent, occasionally taking sips of the cool drink allowing it to ooze down his throat.
“Listen I have been doing some thinking and well I realized I made a mistake,” she paused. Johnny knew she wanted a response. He remained silent.
“Would you give me another chance, Johnny? I want to make this work.”
Johnny turned to face her. “It’s not going to be easy Lauren.”
“No I don’t expect it to be.” She replied.
Johnny took a deep breath and finished the water. “So can I buy you a drink?” He smiled.