Thank Ya Maam Read Count : 15

Category : Stories

Sub Category : Romance

On a hard boiled Saturday night
I felt the edge of restlessness.
Drawn to the neon Frolic Room sign, the locals called shotgun for the stools with the best vantage points along Loyd’s bar. Easy access, that’s what it was about. Couples in booths lined the walls, taking advantage of the shadows that hung like curtains over the tables, hiding imperfections they otherwise obsess about when they don’t have a few drinks in them. I remember Charlette, I remember our first meeting like it were just a few moments ago. She smelled sweet, like a cocktail of roses, gin and vermouth. Heavy blue eye shadow kinda made here look like a New York whore, but that didn’t bother me none. I was more focused on the cherry red lipstick that practically screamed my name from her left canine tooth, was that fucker actually smiling at me? We talked bullshit for a while, I would nod, pretend to understand or care about astrology. I guess I was Aquarius for the fact that I made it out of my apartment this evening, and the newspaper said that I’d meet some ravishing beauty. Her words, not mine. After a few boiler makers and pints of Nukie Brown, I found myself warming up to these odd conversations and participating in trivial nonsense. Loyd dropped a couple of Heinekens down in front of Charlette and me, said some guy at the end of the bar sent them over and to tell me “Good Luck”. Come Fly with Me began playing on the ole jukebox in the corner, and Charlette here had grabbed me by the hand and pulled me towards the middle of the room. She leaned against me, and slowly rocked back and forth. I couldn’t tell if she was dancing or I was keeping her on her feet. But she was warm, and she was soft. Her ginger hair curled over her eyes and I felt like I was in heaven with Clara Bow. It was probably well after two a.m. but Loyd didn’t say shit and didn’t seem to mind we were there. Maybe we were a distraction, a weekend floor show, something to focus on other than the mundane ritual of the nights bar cleaning, Lord knows it’s a grooling thankless job. When Frank stopped singing, Charlette brushed back a lock of her hair from her eye and in that moment, for the first time in the night, I noticed her deep green eyes. She smiled the smile of a girl with broken dreams, that might have found a moment of hope. It hit me in a way, not like anything I had experienced before. Sad and cold, but I liked it. There was something about Charlette, I shared that night, that made me feel special, important and alive.
The neon sign remains, still calling patrons to forget their pain. Though Charlette is gone sometimes I still feel her in my bones, and Loyd might nod, and we both know. People today, people in the city, people are blind and never touch magic.
Here’s to you Charlette, where ever you are. This drinks for you, well maybe three. I call for one last round, and just reminded myself, of a time maybe not so long ago, or maybe it was, of a moment that wasn’t empty, and for that, I wanted to say…
Thank ya maam

(matthew bowers) ~93
©2021

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