Browsing my archive folder the other day, I came across a three-page piece of writing from October 2015. Simply entitled ‘couple at bar’, here is an extract:
They sat at the bar, silhouettes barely lit by the dim, neon glow. The man spoke first.
“Sorry, I couldn’t get a table.”
She picked up her drink, clasping it with both hands before tossing the remains back.
“Why did you call me?” she asked.
“It was time.”
She acknowledged his reply but said nothing.
“You are more beautiful than I remember.” His voice was gravelly, yet sincere. She flashed a warning glare and he held up his hands in surrender. “Just sayin’.”
“It does no good to remember anything from back then.”
He shrugged. “Doesn’t mean I can’t compliment a beautiful woman.”
Reaching out her left hand she picked at an olive from the small, silver dish on the bar adjacent to her. She licked her fingers as she considered her companion for a moment. “Shall we get down to business?”
He laughed. “Time was when that would have meant something.” His accompanying wink was crude and again, she sent him the warning glare. “Alright…” he held his hands up again, a repeat of his action from moments before.
“One more comment and I will walk right out of this door. And next time you can call someone else.” She kept her eyes firmly focused on his as she tapped her neatly manicured nails on the oak bar.
“Yeah, yeah…sorry, force of habit.”
She shook her head. “Three years should have cured you of that.”
“I thought it had. Turns out I was wrong.”
She ignored him. “What did you want to talk to me about? You said you had some business?”
He shrugged. “I do. And you are the only one I can trust with this.”
“I told you, it was time.”
She reached for another olive. “Not good enough. I haven’t heard from you in three years.”
“What do you want me to say?”
“I don’t know. You could start with where the hell you have been. That might help.” She lifted her hand and signalled to the bartender. He removed her glass, returning a moment later with a full one. Slowly, she took a sip, continuing to regard her male companion from under hooded lashes.
He watched her drink. “It’s complicated.”
“Life is complicated. Like I said, not good enough.”
“I don’t have time to explain now.” He glanced furtively over his shoulder.
“Someone watching you?” she asked.
“Complicated. Yeah, you said.” She took another sip of her drink. “Well, if we’re on the clock, you better spill.”
He fidgeted a little on the bar stool. “I need your help.”
She laughed, the sound harsh. “You trash me over, disappear for three years and now you want my help? No explanation? Nothing? Dita was right about you.” She snagged another olive.
“How is Dita?”
She shook her head. “Nice try. You want my help you’re gonna have to give me more.”
“More what? Money? I can’t pay you anything. Not right now. I was hoping that maybe for old time’s sake..?”
“You have a really skewed memory. Don’t you remember how it ended last time? Or do you need a reminder?” Reaching down she lifted the bottom of her sweater to reveal an ugly scar slicing across her abdomen. He visibly flinched.
© AnnMarie Wyncoll 2015
After reading the full piece I found myself asking lots of questions, like: Who are they? What is their relationship? How do they know each other? What happened three years ago? How did she get the scar? Questions that excited me to answer and it didn’t take long for my mind to wander in all kinds of delicious directions.
Unfortunately I don’t have the time to move this piece forward now but what struck me about this discovery was that my archive folder is so much more than a shelter for homeless work. It is a source of inspiration that I had all but forgotten about and perhaps more importantly, it is a great springboard for future projects.
What do you have lurking in your archive folder waiting to be found?
Might just be worth a look.