She bit her lip as he disappeared into the crowd. ‘I’m sorry,’ she whispered, folding the letter and slipping it into an envelope. She pulled on her coat and followed him outside.
From the stage, he tipped his cap as she walked in, her dark hair swaying loosely behind. She caught his eye and smiled. My girl, he thought, beaming proudly.
His calloused fingers stretched across the strings as he played to the local hotshots; the nouveau riche, he called them, their voices loud against his blend of sea shanties and folk.
He watched the pitiful faces lined up against the bar, over tanned, overstretched, bleeding lipstick. They watched their husbands eyeball his girl. She didn’t bat an eyelid, smiled discreetly as oversized men made lewd comments to each other and frustrated hands grabbed pints of Guinness. Wives pretended not to notice while showing off gold on crepey skin, hands swaying exaggeratedly in chat as they directed gazes away from her. She didn’t seem to notice, just tapped her foot in time to the music.
Glancing in his direction, she gave a consolatory wink as she slipped a hand into her pocket. He raised his voice, eyes fixed on her…‘you and me babe, we’re one of a kind…’
‘Been paid for,’ announced the barman, handing her a glass of red wine.
‘Can you tell him thanks and give him this, please?’ She handed the barman an envelope before smiling graciously in the direction of the stage.
‘Sure thing’, he said, placing it on top of the cash register.
‘…You give this hoary head a crown of glory… ’ His voice quivered as he strummed.
She took a large sip of wine before moving cautiously towards the door. Bodies pressed against her as she forced her way through the drunken revellers.
Under the light of a full moon, she buttoned up her coat and glanced through the window at the dancing silhouettes as they rocked to and fro. -Then, following the hill downwards, she listened to his voice fade into the evening.
'....and now she turns her perfect face upon the world below…’
(last line, an excerpt from ‘The Moon’ by Emily Dickinson)
E/R © 2015