The nastiest Irish pub outside Dublin

Posted: 2011 in Post 9.8
Tags: , , , , ,

Saturday, March 31, 11:12 a.m.

We meet at the nastiest Irish pub I’ve ever been in. And I’ve been in my share. He’s waiting for me. He’s so gray. Gray Member’s Only jacket, gray pleated front Dockers his daughter bought for him, button down shirt that went gray from too many washings, graying close cropped hair and 5 o’clock shadow. The only color comes from the highball glass on the table, which glows amber, filled with what is probably Scotch. And from his eyes, half-closed until I say his name, which glow ice blue, filled with what is probably anger when they turn to me.

I sit primly across from him, clutching my purse on my lap like a Midwestern schoolmarm.

“So,” I say. “Are you pissed off at me, or what?”

“Diet Coke, right?” he says.

“This place is nasty,” I reply. “I won’t order anything here.”

Jack sighs. He turns his face away, scanning the crowded pub for the waitress.

“You are the most stubborn woman I know,” he says.

“So, you are pissed off at me,” I say. “Well, I’m pissed off at you. You said some pretty unforgivable stuff back in your motel room.”

“You shouldn’t have stormed out like that,” Jack says. “Leo told me he knows about us.”

“Leo knows what about us?” I say. “What ‘us?’ There is no ‘us,’ Jack!”

Distracted, I allow my purse to fall to the pub floor, which probably hasn’t been cleaned in months. It will become encrusted with pubic hairs. How will I ever explain that at home? I grab it and stand.

“Things are getting weird,” I say. “I think this is a good place for us to part ways. Before we get in too deep.”

Jack rounds on me, abandoning his hunt for the absentee waitress. His cold blue eyes stab through me.

“Don’t go,” he says.

My left hand is balled in a fist on the grimy tabletop. My right hand is fishing through my purse for my car keys.

“I don’t want to be involved anymore. So how about I just say good luck and goodbye?” I say.

“Stay.”

Jack reaches across the table and almost…

Almost…

Almost covers my hand with his.

His hand hovers over mine, his fingers spread wide like the talons of a hawk descending on a vulnerable nest. I feel the warmth of his palm radiating into my perpetually cold fingers.

He withdraws his hand just before our fingers meet.

“Stay,” he says again.

 

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