Passing a Bar Heading Home

He drove past the bar
mildly regretting not stopping
off for a beer,
but the thought of staring
at the memories that would surface
as he drained the glass
was too much, and besides
if he was going to drink alone
he’d drink at home.

He cut the engine and stared
at the garage door too
afraid to open it and face
the empty expanse of the house
that used to be a home.
He missed the cacophonous noise
that ignited his stress to
regretful implosions.
He knew now it was the noise of life,
the noise of happiness,
the noise of home.

After-images of together times
burned his eyelids.
He shut them harder and
bruised his knuckles on
the steering wheel.
He heard their laughter
in the wind and saw
their smiles projected
on his garage door.

The memories were with him
living in every corner of his mind.
Realizing there was no point in
delaying he slid out from his seat,
entered the garage code, and
grabbed a beer from his outdoor fridge.

He’d downed the beer before
he reached the kitchen sink.
Bourbon is what his heart craved
and he’d drown it in bourbon if he could.
He grabbed a glass and
shuffled to the liquor cabinet,
poured the sweet smoke
half way to the top,
sat down in the dark, and
asked the radio to play him
some misery.

Sitting in the dark,
listening to Tom Waits,
he downed the bourbon
in two gulps.
His need was for more but,
sadness weighed him down.
He sat there embracing
the misery of life
and wishing he’d
stopped off for that
damned beer.

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