Tuesday, December 15, 2009

cuba libre

In a bar named Salsipuedes an old man ordered another drink, a Cuba Libre. The bartender, a handsome young man, mixed the drink and served it without hesitation, removing an empty glass from the bar with swift movements.
“I was once young like you,” said the old man. “How old are you?”
“I am twenty five years old,” said the bartender.
The old man shook his head.
“Ah! So young! I am seventy years old. Seventy!”
He slurred his words a little because he had been drinking for several hours.
“This is not very old. You look much younger,” said the bartender automatically as he moved down the bar.
“Yes, that is what people say to be nice. And maybe this is true. When you are old it is no consolation to be told you look much younger.”
The old man’s voice trailed off as he realized the bartender was not listening anymore. The old man was used to being ignored so was not insulted. Old people, he thought, have much wisdom but are also ignorant because they have forgotten what it feels like to be young. He searched his shirt pocket for a cigarette when he realized that, on the advice of his doctor, he had quit smoking many years earlier.
“Can someone please give me a cigarette?” he called out.
Only three or four people were in the bar. A young woman sitting nearby leaned over and handed the man a cigarette. He thanked her graciously.
“You are welcome,” said the young woman. “Do you need a light?”
“No. I will not smoke this cigarette.”
The woman paused.
“No? Then why do you want it?”
“I like the feel of a cigarette. When I was young I smoked many cigarettes a day. Then my doctor told me I should quit. But still I like the way a cigarette feels. It reminds me of a time when I was young.”
“Ah. Well, enjoy holding the cigarette,” said the woman as stood up.
The old man laughed gently.
“You are easy to like. Will you keep me company for a moment?”
“Well, I am waiting for a friend,” said the woman as she moved to another part of the bar.
“Yes, I understand,” said the man to himself. “You should to be with friends. But do you have a moment to keep me company?
No one answered.
“My doctor also told me to stop drinking but I told him this was impossible. I will always drink.”
The old man looked into his glass and drank the Cuba Libre. Then he stared out the window and no one talked to him.
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.