The Edge of Eternity

I go to the same underground joint once, twice a week. Three or four if things are going rough upstairs. We drink gin rickeys all night or until the moon disappears behind the grey shadows.

There’s always a different musician playing quietly in the corner. I don’t recognise this one. He plays saxophone and wears dark glasses. Maybe he’s hiding from someone.  I think that’s why we came here.

I’m always wearing the same dress. Red. There’s a feather in my hair. Peacock? I can’t remember. A single string of pearls hangs low from my neck. I know he gave them to me after the first night. In the beginning when it was somehow different. Brighter. I can’t seem to recall exactly. But I know I mustn’t think of that now. I’m here to make a new memory.

As I open the door and walk upon the stone floor the amplified sound of my heels echo loudly. Tap. Tap. Tap. Everything else is mute.  I look around and notice I’m moving in slow motion. Then I see him, just as I always do.  I feel the shift inside.  Satisfaction? Not yet. Anticipation? Always.

He’s alone. Sitting in the same stool. He doesn’t turn around so I approach slowly from behind and brush his shoulder with my fingers. Varnished. Red. One ruby, one diamond.  He turns in the stool, green eyes illuminating the room and he smiles, revealing a gold tooth. The man in the corner begins to sing softly.  The gold tooth evaporates and he pours a drink. Always gin. There is no barman.

We talk forever. I learn about him. Everything. Things I never remember afterwards. I don’t know who I am. But I know something. A clock appears at the other side of the bar and speeds up until seven hours pass by in seven minutes.

As my cigarette burns the smoke thickens and becomes a cloud. He is slowly disappearing.  I see two emerald stones floating in mid-air.  As I edge backwards the music stops and I know it’s time to leave. As I walk past the musician, a silence penetrates the remaining fragments of what once was. Then it falls to dust.

I turn to go upstairs. I can’t look back. I can’t. I’m gone.

When the sun and the moon gradually fade together and the mist passes quickly over my dreams, I’ll come again.   Always to the same bar.  To him.  Lost.  Somewhere on the edge of eternity.