Dear Bartender

Pen to paper can be intimidating – old school writing feels awkward when it has been years since the last time I actually put…pen to paper. But on this trip no laptop, no word processing devices – didn’t think to bring anything along to write with…front desk, sweet faced young man – red curly hair and blue eyes accommodates all requests made by the patrons staying at the 1661 Inn; even if that means some improvising. Carefully he tares out several sheets of paper from his note book and hands me a pen apologetically – as if he thinks it isn’t good enough – there is just enough of a pause and hesitation in his gesture, a dead give away; but it is perfect for what I need. My head is filling up and overflowing with words and it’s time to write or I will forget – which is never a good option for me – I don’t seem to do well with regret…all those pearls of wisdom, jewels of thought so perfectly strung together, lost…gone forever! Tragic I think, as I step outside into the old world of Block Island.

It is an oceanic-transformation that I can feel in the pit of my stomach – brave soul they say, going away all by your self…

Out and about on the island, hands of the grandfather clock tick tock – 6:00PM; I walk down Spring Street to the Hotel Manisses for a drink – standing behind the bar is a July summer sun tanned handsome man talking to all the guests as if he has known them for years. Bartender lingo pro is quick, witty and charming; he chats comfortably – earning every dollar that is being rung up quicker then a blink in a turn of the century ornate quasi cash register. He looks at me, smiles and asks – what’s your pleasure beautiful lady? Clearing my throat – a vodka tonic with a twist of lime please. The bartender asks…any particular Vodka? My reply clumsy, but attempting to act as if in the know…Tito’s please, if you have it? He smiles and winks; continues to chat up the other customers – they are affectionately letting him know how thrilled they are that he decided to return to the Manisses for another season –  a multitasking Svengali!

My plan for the evening is to have a drink outside on the patio where I wont appear so obviously solo on the most romantic island in New England – but, if I have learned anything in this life, plans can change as quickly as the wind…

The bartender places a coaster and my Tito and tonic with a fresh slice of lime on the bar…he asks if I would hang around for a while – the drink is on him. Again the smile – slightly blushing I agree and thank him. He waits and watches as I take a sip…looking up from my glass into his eyes – a striking sea blue color – I can see a glimmer of approval and I smile back at him – with the straw still between my lips. And I wonder, does one, drink a “Tito” and tonic with a fresh slice of lime through a straw or sip from the glass…

By the second drink we are talking with more openness, as if we have also known each other for years; about inconsequential things, silly light things – music, songs – good music and bad music – is there any future in music, film. The Yankees and the Red Socks – World Cup, America’s Cup – and how to steam the best lobster in the entire world. The conversation shifts back and forth, from day to day interests cautiously to personal – what do you do, what are your dreams, married, kids, in a relationship, out of one – how long.

Some people enter the bar dressed for dinner or more casual, just stop by for a quick drink after a long day on the beach or out sailing around the island. The walls begin to drift away and vanish. Comfort and ease replace my sense of being alone on my visit and sitting in a bar full of couples and – yes, flirting with, not just a bartender, but “the” most beloved  bartender on Block island.

The conversation flows like a fine wine – how cliche, but sometimes the best or worst cliches work for a reason…they fit like a fine pair of haute couture gloves.

We chat and laugh. He asks what my plans are for the night – I’m going to finish my drink and walk back to the inn and write. He leans in and asks if I will wait for him to finish up and maybe we can walk together. Maybe he can buy me another drink at a local slow dancing dimly lit beach bar in the Old Harbor. And maybe afterward he can talk me into going back to his place.

Feeling verbally uninhibited now – you just want me to sleep with you! I jokingly gasp. He laughs and with a slight nod he says –  you got me darlin, confirmation of ulterior motives, I confess. Is that really what you think? An intense serious look crosses his face, strangely I’m drawn to him because of it. There is an air of honesty and sincerity in his expression and eyes.

Not sure what to think. Maybe I’m completely delusional in thinking anything; that this person has any interest in sleeping with me – and now I’m feeling a little silly. A little – but not completely embarrassed; a bit off guard maybe and slightly vulnerable.

He can sense my discomfort and says in his best Cary Grant – it is a perfect night for a walk darling…come on beautiful think about it.

You my new friend can make one hell of a great “Tito” and tonic with a slice of fresh lime, but can not give me what I want or need – And, not an afterthought, but I don’t just sleep with every pretty face I meet when vacationing alone in paradise…he smiles again and says, how do you know I can’t give you what you want or need? What do you want? Do you know what you need? A little music, a slow dance, the sounds of the ocean…candle light…we all need that don’t we?

Ah yes my dear bartender, sweet lovely bartender – handsome and most likely too young for me in the real world bartender…are you sure you want to hear this? Are you sure you are ready and can handle what I will say? I’ve had a few, wonderfully made I might add, drinks with you and the gift of gab has not been lost on either of us.

Straight up honest shooter, he replies – I like that.

Ok handsome, get ready…

I want…
…someone to take my hands hold them tenderly and kiss them,
look into my eyes and know it is enough.
I want…
… someone to kiss my lips and take my breath away,
look into my eyes and know it is enough.
I want…
…someone to say all the words that will fill both our hearts and ring true, perfect tone, not hollow or off key –
look into my eyes and know it is enough.
I want and need …
…a friend, a lover that can feel, see and accept all of my history, my imperfections without judgement,
look into my eyes and know that it is enough.
I want and need…
… a friend a lover that knows in his core being that when he looks into my eyes the love between us is unconditional and reciprocated and that it is enough.

How’s that for starters?

Well, he says quietly, taking my hands and holding them in his – they feel warm and soft – not weak. He looks at me closely and brings my hands to his lips…he kisses them – he closes his eyes for a moment…and then looks at me again – he whispers, where have you been all of my life beautiful?

I know it’s a cliche but it fit like a fine pair of haute couture gloves…

© 2016 TrilbyYates


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