Another week down, one more to go before the end of the quarter. A rare sunny day in late Winter, the sky almost too blue to bear, the sunlight a warm blush on the skin and overbright on every metallic surface, ringing out the gray weeks that came before with an onslaught of brilliance and good cheer. I feel a little giddy, a little high. Ready for the weekend.
I wanted a curtain between the work week and the evening, though I'll have to limit the whiskey-- tonight, I take the kid I mentor to a baseball game, and it won't do to pick him up punch-drunk. I'll have only one. I have hours left to sober up, anyway-- have no fear for the safety of the boy. I'm responsible. I will stop at a fifth, for absolutely!
Really, there is nothing to hold me in this college bar anyway-- outside, there is the glorious afternoon, the long, geometric shadows cast by the towers and beveled roof of the business school, the bustle and laughter of young people too long without sun. Soon I must join them.
I have a small crush on the slim, red-haired bartender who is kind to everyone, and who actually listens to my order-- I started out with a husky, unkempt, red-faced fellow who missed my 'hold the mayo' on my burger and who gave me lemonade and whisky when I ordered whiskey-soda with a lemon, sad already that I wasn't being served by the girl and sorrier for her absence after, but she's here now, on work at four, and I will be sorry to have to close and leave. It is nice to have the sort of appreciative crush that is harmless enough and small enough to survive cliche-- were I really serious about her, like the fourteen frat boys who make nightly passes at her, such an appreciation would be tawdry. But I am not naive enough to want to try; I appreciate her brisk ease of manner from a distance, how she seems to smile like she means it, how she has a sort of practical grace in moving food and drinks about the bar, wishing me a good afternoon when I go in a fashion that is no invitation but is perhaps sincere. I wouldn't want more than to feel that her competence is a fine thing, and on a fine afternoon such as this one, that is itself enough to suffice.