Empty Glass

The glass sat empty in front of the similarly vacated bar stool. Alan wasn’t sure where the girl had gone, even more unsure of how he could have missed her exiting.

She’d come into the bar at 4, in the strange limbo hours that fall between lunch eaters and happy hour attendees.  She was dressed simply, just jeans and a long gray tank top, and she wore sunglasses over her eyes until she reached the bar.  Here, she had slid into her seat, removed the glasses  and placed a 10 dollar bill on the table, all in one fluid motion.  He had immediately noticed her bright green eyes and the conspicuously large men’s watch she wore on her left wrist.

“What can I get you?” he asked, placing a coaster on the bar.

“Double gin and tonic, lots of ice,” she’d answered instantly.  He had paused, about to ask for her ID when he noticed she’d already slid it across the bar. Looking down, he read her name Augustus, July (that seems cruel, he thought) and her birthday January 1, 1986 which made her 26.  He smiled up at her and returned the card,  then turned  to make the drink. 

When he placed it in front of her, she nodded and pushed the $10 toward him.  He turned to the till to make change.

When he turned back, he was faced with that empty glass with its empty bar stool, and he was suddenly alone in the bar again, holding $3.75 in his hand with no one to give it to.

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364

There were 364 teacups lining the shelves on the wall.  Each one was “special” for various reasons; one was from Cape Cod, another from London, their tacky, touristy emblems easy to spot.  Others had been gifts and were presented in varying hues of turquoise and lavender and mauve.  Each one, Carrie liked to say, had it’s very own story to tell, and she knew each little story by heart.

Sara hated those awful teacups.  Every week, she had to take down all three hundred and sixty goddamned four teacups and dust them before replacing them on the shelf. And each week, Carrie would wander through and say the same things Sara had heard over and over and over again:

“Oh Sara, be extra careful with that one! My dear friend Maud sent it over from India.”

“Oh Sara, that is one of my absolute favorites! I bought it when we were touring Wales!”

“Oh Sara, don’t you just love that one? It’s real China from China! Can you imagine?”

Sara longed to smash every last godforsaken teacup, to stomp the shards of glass beneath her feet into fine, powdered dust.