Stepping into the club was like entering a past that never existed from a future that never was. Checkerboard walls competed with fifties-costumed bartenders for the ultimate in garishness. All in the name of selling twenty-dollar martinis to millennials staring with blank cognizance at the living parlor tricks that surrounded them. Had he been five years older, his level of detachment towards his surroundings would have no doubt taken on the air of pretentious pandering to generational difference. But here, mixed in within the sweating blurs of motion entranced in the pulsating beat of music preprogrammed to revel in its own conformity, he was only part of a nameless sea of neon ringed faces paying homage to the god of forgetfulness and emotional starvation. He found a seat at one of the many tables that formed a half-moon shape while he waited for Marilyn Monroe or whatever spectre of the past to come haunt him. They had a habit of doing that a lot.
Including the latest whom he had just seen on Fifth Street. Three years of togetherness apparently earns you the right to be passed by like a stranger entrenched within your own shadowy night. The fact that she had so clearly moved on reeked of vast understatement.
Footsteps approached the table. Marilyn was indeed the courier tonight.
“What’ll it be sugar?,” she stated like the product of theatrical dreams in dire need of an alarm clock that he figured she’d be.
“The usual,” he replied before he remembered he had never been here before. He was about to correct his mistake when he saw her walk away, heels clattering such that spoke towards the desire for imminent freedom from self-encasement.
Me too Marilyn, he thought as he watched her disappear behind the bar.