Hadn’t he been told that he had the looks of a film actor? Standing in the hall, he looked at his reflection in the mirror. Sandy, cropped hair, firm face, muscular neck, he adjusted the collar of his shirt. Putting on a dark jacket, slipping his wallet into an inside pocket, he opened the front door and stepped out onto the street. The earlier chill of the day had passed, the wind had turned south and there was a sense of spring. He relished the coming of spring, the longer daylight, the mildness of the evenings, the reacquaintance with places not visited during the months of winter.
Music greeted him at the bar doorway, a singer half of his own age stood at the far of the room, earnest in his performing a song to which most of those present seemed indifferent. Catching the eye of a bartender, he ordered beer, placing payment upon the bar as the glass was handed to him.
Turning, he scanned the faces around him, looking for one familiar. A man for whom he had done occasional work stood deep in conversation with someone not unlike himself, perhaps it was a business matter. He walked over to them, offering them both warm greetings. The man who resembled himself appeared to lose his train of thought and stepped back, standing in silence.
The exchange of words was no more than brief, the erstwhile employer spoke of needing to be at a meeting and turned and left, the other man following him. Strange, to be going to a meeting on a Sunday night. It must be important.
A woman he recognised from the filling station sat at a table with two companions. Picking up a chair, he nodded to them and sat at the table. Hardly having time to discover their names, he found himself alone as they declared that they must go a friend was holding a party. He considered inviting himself, but decided his acquaintance with the woman was not sufficiently strong to do so. He would call at the garage in the morning and ask her about the party.
In the far corner sat a woman alone, engrossed in her phone, she did not notice as he approached. Only when he sat down did she look up, “sorry, I’m waiting for a friend – that’s their seat.”
“I see no friend.” He believed himself charming. “What about a drink with me?”
“No, thank you. I’m waiting for a friend.” The woman spoke loudly and those nearby went silent and turned toward the table at which he sat.
There was a moment of awkwardness, not something with which he was unfamiliar. “I’ll get you a glass of white wine while you are waiting.”
“Which part of ‘no’ do you not understand?” Her voice was loud, except for the singer, everyone was silent.
“Her loss,” he thought to himself, picking up his beer, he drained the glass and walked to the bar. An embarrassed silence surrounded him. He placed the glass on the bar and bade the bartender, “good evening.” He would drink elsewhere. He hadn’t realised the people here had developed such a high opinion of themselves.
Turning to leave, he caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror. Hadn’t he the looks of a film actor?