The Silver Year: L’Epilogue est Sans Issue

L'Epilogue est Sans Issue


I watch​​ her. She​​ commands​​ the bar with the stoicism of a field surgeon and the grace of an ice dancer.

“Whadda​​ you​​ want?”​​ She​​ mentally notates each answer with a nod, sawing​​ down the front line of patrons as one bites​​ corn​​ off​​ a​​ cob, mercilessly bypassing​​ any​​ kernels​​ with drink orders​​ unready.​​ Her hands move with​​ deeply​​ satisfying rhythm and​​ automation. In one,​​ a​​ cocktail​​ shaker pumps, in the other, a bottle tips to a​​ wanting​​ line of shot​​ glasses.​​ She​​ chews off three more drink​​ orders​​ in the process, keeping tally of the beers filling under​​ the​​ taps​​ behind her, then with balletic bravado, she cracks​​ the shaker​​ over two​​ glasses,​​ pirouettes to stop​​ the​​ three running​​ taps,​​ and​​ returns with four totals for​​ eleven drinks.

“Sixteen . . . twenty-four-fifty . . . forty-two . . . twenty-one-seventy-five.”

As the​​ front​​ line of​​ patrons procure​​ payment, she​​ tops off the beers,​​ delivers them​​ to the bar, and​​ begins​​ the process​​ all over again with the line​​ behind them.​​ She never stops. The whole night is her ballet, battle,​​ and opera.​​ They say true multitasking is impossible, but Jade​​ has​​ made a perfection of faking it. It’s a shame no one​​ sees her brilliance​​ the way I do—not​​ even she,​​ so I’m documenting it here, hoping for perpetuity.​​ In fact, everyone​​ I’ve​​ documented​​ here is​​ a hope for perpetuity,​​ but​​ especially you.​​ 

I’m sorry. I still find myself talking to you.​​ I’m still adjusting to​​ a​​ reality​​ where I can’t do that.​​ It’s like​​ reading​​ a good book​​ and​​ never knowing the ending, or maybe it just feels that way because​​ I didn’t​​ see the end coming.​​ Our​​ brief​​ time together​​ seemed to​​ pass​​ so​​ quickly​​ while in it, yet​​ it​​ feels eternal​​ now from the​​ effect.

Time is funny like that;​​ always​​ misleading​​ and​​ never moving in the​​ way​​ we​​ remember​​ it. But​​ as Proust said, time is elastic, and​​ as an almost​​ outside observer​​ of my life​​ now,​​ I​​ can​​ see​​ he was correct.​​ Nothing​​ made time move faster than habit and nothing​​ held​​ it​​ down​​ like novelty. The reason being,​​ novelty always involves at​​ least some​​ discomfort, but discomfort is​​ key to waking up memory,​​ the​​ ultimate arbiter of time.​​ However,​​ the more novelty you seek, the less you notice this discomfort because overtime novelty builds up an immunity​​ to​​ unjustified fear, usually​​ the source of novelty’s discomfort, and acts as a vaccine so to speak. And​​ from the looks of things lately,​​ humanity​​ could use a vaccine.

Speaking of that,​​ the​​ newscasts have been apocalyptic​​ lately. It’s been raining in Southern California for three days and every television screen at the bar is filled with images of the deluge​​ now that the sports games are over.​​ Floods, mudslides, power outages,​​ idiots in cars being swept away at​​ water crossings;​​ I​​ pretend to watch, but my mind is elsewhere.

Fortunately these days I don’t get noticed here too often. Then again, I don’t look much like myself these days either. Over time I guess people have just gotten used to me sitting in this corner by the trivia machine, sipping wine—the last of the spirits I haven’t made enemies with,​​ documenting their sordid romances and tragedies into my notebook. I’ve sort of become one with the old trinkets adorning the walls. Every now and then somebody finds me novel, but for the most part I’m free to be the surveying ghost I always wanted to be.

I think this bar is what I’m going to miss the most​​ when I’m gone.​​ I know that sounds alcoholic, but Perqs has been my​​ only place of novelty​​ during​​ my years of​​ mostly​​ habit—not out of choice of course.​​ I​​ also​​ see​​ why​​ it​​ was so special to you: one of two buildings left on Main Street over a hundred years old, forty of which it served as a brothel; you always did like a place with history.​​ The real value,​​ however,​​ is​​ the​​ people and​​ stories on display every night​​ here, many of​​ whom and​​ which I’ve​​ borrowed for​​ our story.

I only say “our story” because so much of your story has become mine​​ now, and​​ I’m not sure if I’m ready​​ to be alone again​​ yet.​​ I always asked​​ you​​ if you thought I was going crazy, and you always reassured me, “only in the​​ most lucid way.”​​ But​​ now that​​ this last remnant of you​​ is​​ going to be​​ gone, who’s going to be around to substantiate that?​​ You’ve become​​ so​​ fixed​​ in​​ my imagination​​ I’m beginning​​ to question​​ if any of it​​ really​​ happened at all.​​ But I’ve got to move on.​​ I’ve got to​​ leave you in this locket of time,​​ because unlike you,​​ I’m still​​ in​​ its​​ current, and​​ ultimately​​ only death can cease it.​​ 

But so can a great story—at least for a little​​ while.​​ 

So as the love of your life—simply because you had no others,​​ I’ve now done my due diligence​​ in making​​ sure the world​​ remembers​​ Walter Huxley.​​ Because if there is any practical purpose for love, it’s having someone who can tell your story—or​​ in my case,​​ finish the ending, the ending I took away from you​​ that fateful​​ early​​ Christmas​​ morning.​​ I never did get to hear that second verse before you​​ fell backwards and broke your neck.

But if it’s any consolation,​​ the guilt of​​ accidently​​ taking your life​​ stopped me from taking my own. Little did you know​​ how close​​ to suicide​​ I​​ actually​​ was​​ when I met you.​​ But​​ learning about the​​ incredible​​ life I had taken​​ not only​​ helped me find the​​ worth in mine,​​ it​​ gave me the inspiration to​​ finally​​ do​​ something with it, and for that​​ you​​ will​​ always be the greatest love of my life Walter Huxley—but also simply because​​ I had​​ no others. I didn’t have enough time.

Although we​​ only​​ met​​ a mere few seconds in this​​ existence,​​ I hope​​ we​​ can​​ really​​ fall in love​​ in another.​​ I guess I’ll find out soon​​ mon coup de foudre.


Amber​​ ;-)







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