Strange Eyes, Familiar Tears

I took my place on the barstool, the bartender acknowledging my presence with a curt nod. I asked for my usual – vodka and coke.

His stagger, as he went on to fetch my order, revealed more to me than his carefully fabricated expressionless face ever could. His sad eyes left me wondering whether he was grieved by the loss of someone he tirelessly loved. He placed my glass in front of me and left me in solace with my thoughts. However, my eyes followed his silhouette, till he flicked off a tear and camouflaged his swift movement behind a bottle of whisky.

As the first sip stung in my throat, leaving me feeling comfortably numb, my gaze quickly shifted to a couple sitting in an isolated corner with words constantly rambling out of his mouth; and her sniffles turning into soft cries and then to teary hiccups. He finally stops speaking, hoping that she’d say something that made him feel better about shredding apart her incredibly fragile heart. She took a deep breath in, she let out a heartbreaking hiccup before finally saying something that was inaudible to my ears.

Sometimes, when I’m sitting in a crowded place, I tend to observe people; wondering  whether their tears flow in synchrony with mine. And in a few years, I wonder how many of us are going to be dead; how many tragedies are yet to befall the rest. And this is what urges me to always be kind to strangers, because someday I may be the one in dire need of the comforting words. Some people call me naive. But this is what makes me human.

And now, as I am sitting, unthinkingly stirring all that’s left in my almost-empty glass, I wonder what burns more – the vodka down my throat or the steady flow of tears down my cheeks.

~Ritika

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