In Memory of Bogie and Bacall

In Memory of Bogie and Bacall
From The Spider Lady and Other Short Stories and Poetry
by Mark Alberto Yoder Nunez
Photograph by author

I walked into the shade and cool of this bar to get some relief from walking the city streets on a hot, weekday afternoon.  The overhead fans were slowly turning.  It was uncrowded, mainly empty, just as I wanted.  I asked the bartender for a cool drink and took the drink to one of the empty tables away from the few people sitting at the bar.  There were lots of empty tables and at the far, other end of the place a dance floor and a stage. 

I was minding my own business, daydreaming and sometimes looking absent mindedly at the doorway where the sunshine sneaked in when suddenly she appeared.  It was her.  “Hello, Joe.  How have you been?”  Dressed in a long, elegant, black dress she was leaning over me where I sat.  We talked.  She said, “I have to sing a song now”.  Mysteriously there were musicians now on the stage.  “Yes, Joe”, she said, “I work here”.  She walked away from me. 

Soon she was onstage, holding the microphone in her hand.  “I’ve got you under my skin.  I’ve got you under my skin”, she sang.  She was looking right into my eyes.  Of all the songs she could have sung she had to sing that one.  I felt angry and gripped my glass. 

     I was feeling forlorn, lost in thought when she was in front of me again leaning towards me over the table.  “I’m leaving, Joe.  I’m leaving town.  This is my last day here.  Goodbye, Joe”.  She disappeared through a door in the back.  I tried to memorize every movement of hers as she walked away and disappeared so I would always remember.  She was gone. 

     I walked out of the coolness and twilight of the bar into the hot, afternoon sunlight.  I walked with my head down staring at the sidewalk in front of me.  When I looked up I was on streets that I did not recognize just as I had been when I walked into the bar.  I was hopelessly lost but I didn’t care.  I wandered aimlessly. 

     Why did it always have to be this way?  Every time I find her again and there’s hope, she’s telling me goodbye.  She makes me feel I will never see her again but this time there is no hope.  I felt as if my heart had been torn to pieces and was being held together with pins and needles.  It’s like an itch that I can’t scratch. 

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