‘Did you see him?’she asked, every ounce of her body straining to the answer, hoping for affirmation, dreading the opposite.
‘Yes,’ the old man replied, deadpan, ‘I saw him.’
Initial joy rises in her. He had come after all! She waited. Surely the old man now had more to say. Time fell by like the bubbles leaving a pint glass. She could wait no more.
‘And what message did he leave me?!’ The words were blurted out quicker than a bullet leaving a high velocity colt.
Now it was the old mans turn to wait. How do you break the dreams of a woman already clearly broken?
‘He didn’t say nothin’,’ he replied, not easily but truthfully at least.
She gasped. Nothing. How could you hold on to nothing. She tried again,
‘But surely a word, a message?’ she pleaded, her hands now reaching across the table and gripping the old mans scarred and wrinkled hands in her own as though this could change his answer.
‘Baby, he didn’t say fuck. Sorry.’ The last word was unusual for a man who had specialised for many years in saying nothing at all unless absolutely necessary.
And here Avril Lemontane breaks down. She literally crumples into a huddled mess on the floor. The old man, with nothing more to add, walks away. He can’t help her anymore now than he could when she first asked in her half baked idea to meet the man in the first place. It had taken three whiskers and $50 to persuade him to say yes, $40 more than he needed to drink himself away this night.
In the bar people initially move away then, as she stays put, the crowds fill back in around her, a curtain for her grief, her pain, her suicide note of woe.