When stools outnumber people and remnant puddles intended for livers litter the floor, when the bar is clear for the first time past midnight, the grunge rock comes on. The lights are still dim. The rain still lazily blows past the closed doors ready to fly open at the first sign of storming young drunks. The bartenders joke, tossing things over to one another, throwing drinks back recklessly for the first time since before the shift started. A new romance buds in the corner. At the fringe of the bar is a group of three or five who came in together hours before. I sit there, behind the crux of the bend, where the counter lives a short life before vanishing into the wall, watching stories unfold as one does when they aren't in one themselves. I adopt these three storylines, and the potential fourth filled with love laden youth filing in from the wet concrete streets into the wooden bar, and play them in my mind's eyes like an oracle on his delirium lyre.
This was three in the morning on a Thursday in a dive on the lower east side. I knew the setting well. An eternal outsider. I relied on an introduction and the opportunity to speak in order to win my way into the hearts of others. I couldn't approach a crowd let alone an individual. I couldn't get myself to do something endearing in a public display. I was too worried that the I that I had to provide wasn't the one people were looking for. I was a small time act. A local show. Confidence was a word I only knew how to spell. I could make it sound really nice when I spoke also. Confidence. Confidence. Confidence. It sounds beautiful in my head. Like a mountaintop I can see in the distance. I take mental pictures of it as I drive past.
Glasses slam down on the bar. The group of friends have managed to convince one of the bartenders to do one last shot. I look down at my drink. Half melted ice. I swirl it. It seems like the right thing to do.