It was a run down building. Most people passed it everyday, unaware that it was even a tavern. People drove by, absorbed in their every day lives, blissfully unaware of the dramas and heartaches and celebrations contained in the white building on the corner. They stopped at the stoplight right next to the place, never realizing how close they were to the breaking and the broken people inside, the dying and the withering souls. I envy them. I envy their unbiased view of the world, of life and of how people should live.
I bartended there for entirely too long. I was tired of the sorrow and the despair, but unable to leave anyway. They were the lost souls of the world. The broken people; the drug users, drug abusers, wife beaters and alcoholics that simply didn’t care anymore. They were felons and veterans and bikers and blue collar workers and mothers and deadbeat fathers. They were sons and daughters, sisters, brothers, wives and husbands, and I can’t help but remember that once upon a time, they were the same as you and I. Life had crushed them, or they had crushed themselves. Whatever brought them there, they were the best and the worst this shitty world has to offer, and for those seven years, they were mine. I knew their pain and their fears. I knew their quirks and their rages. I knew their weaknesses. I knew their kids and their wives and the parents that picked them up when they’d had too much. I knew what brought them there.
The guy that sold cocaine donated to every charity he came across. The guy that beat the hell out of his wife every Friday night swore he’d kill anyone that fucked with me. The boss that pulled his dick out at every other bartender on staff gave me $100 for a wedding present, a huge deal, considering at some point he refused to buy bar napkins because “people kept using them”.
The place changed me. I don’t know if it was for the better or for the worse. I see people differently, I suppose. I see the cowards behind the bullies, the pain behind the angry people. I see the vicious circle of addiction and alcoholism in people that have distinct imbalances in their brains, and in people that can’t live with themselves sober. It’s heartbreaking and disgusting all at the same time. They were the un-fixable people in this life and they came there to die, in soul if not in body, and I want to introduce you to them.