Reflections on a Motel Bar

A Motel Bar

It was Friday night.
Cocktail hour, and they came in.
Two people no one knew.

Him, in jeans, light jacket, hoodie and baseball cap.
Her, in jeans, light jacket and long and straight, light brown hair.
They took chairs at the bar and ordered.

She wore no makeup. Plain, but attractive. Older
He was bearded with some gray, like so many men today.
They liked each other. Anyone could tell.

Looking at each other, they spoke to none but the bartender.
Drinks came. They talked to each other, long lost friends.
She had come from far away, and he wasn’t from here either.

They sipped their whiskey cokes in low ball glasses.
Stroked each other’s hands, smiled, and laughed a lot.
Her phone would come out, but only for a moment.

Overheard, “It was my son,” she told him.
He smiled and put his arm on her shoulder.
She looked down and held his hand, a hand that knew wrenches.

I imagined they spent the weekend as lovers do,
When time is short, and they have each other
If only for the moment.

On Tuesday, they came in again.
They took chairs, this time close by. The bar was more crowded.
The bartender knew what they would order and their drinks appeared.

Her back was to me, but I could tell, this was their last night.
She looked at her phone once, and after she laid it down,
She hugged him, and they both took sips from their low ball glasses.

I sat there just stealing a glance, not wanting to intrude.
They were lovers, and I was an invisible guy in a bar,
Knowing I would never see either of them again.

When she told him her flight number for the next day.
She leaned in close to him, and the hand that knew wrenches,
Slowly stroked her back, and she leaned into his shoulder.

Feeling like an intruder, I paid my tab and left.
Walking to my car, a little sad, I thought about those two people I didn’t know,
Who came into the motel bar I frequent, and what tomorrow would bring.

Home alone, wine glass in hand, I knew why I felt the way I did.
I was envious of what they had, if only for a brief moment,
On a cold mid-winter weekend in a motel bar, that I didn’t.

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About Bob Kallberg

Retired reporter. Concentrating now on recounting Joanie's 12 year battle with cancer, a battle she waged with extreme courage, determination and an indomitable spirit, that, for me, serves as an example.
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