CHAPTER ONE – In the bar “All the lonely people”


Therese sat at the corner of the bar. On a seat once covered with mat red leather, now totally worn out. She ordered a usual and leaned forward with anticipation.
The bar was semi crowded, but for one reason, this corner was always empty. As if her seat was always there, vacant, waiting for her to sit on, spin a little; find her balance oscillating with grace, like a ballerina on a spring.
This was the fifth time she was visiting this bar, with the name “All the lonely people”. And indeed all the regulars were lonely people. Just like her. Lonely people that didn’t want to be alone, but intolerant of tight intimacies and too much touching.
Therese had a sense of security in there. As if these people around, all life wrecks were some kind of good fairies protecting her from the cruelty of life in a big city, from all the competitive friendships, demanding relationships and never ending obligations of everyday life as an urban puppet. This bar was a black hole with peculiar capabilities. Time was setting still, stress was vanishing and a heavy burden was off her shoulders from the moment she would cross the big wooden door and enter the main room of the bar.
Jimmy, the bartender, would share a subtle smile and ask in a low soothing voice, the usual?
And that was it.
Today she hadn’t planned to pay a visit but as the afternoon was surrendering to the evening, she felt she could use some relaxation time. Friday. The beginning of the weekend for some, the end of a tiring week for others. She was totally in support of the latter.
So there she was, sipping a usual, with a usual being a red campari with just a pinch of orange juice, waiting for Jasmine, her friend and colleague, to join her for a quiet celebration of yet another week that they made it alive and mentally sober. It was the first time Therese would ask a friend to join her in a bar like this. From her wild teenage years in her birthplace, and later on, in every big city she had lived, she preferred to keep these places to herself. Like a weird secret, a personal refuge, a holy shelter that she had the privilege to hide in, without having to explain, to wait, to fear anything.
But every once in a while she would experiment a bit with her friends, and their taste and tolerance. She would ask a friend to join her, and then see how he or she would react inside a place like this. The bar “All the lonely people”, and all bars around the world for all the lonely people, are like sceneries for the Apocalypse. Nobody can fake it in there. All masks fall down and you can see the others as they really are. The hard part is that they can see themselves naked also, and sometimes people would do almost anything to avoid this. They are capable of spending one lifetime discovering tricks and pretending they know who the hell they are. They spend fortunes on psychoanalysis and yoga classes, just to justify successfully that they really know who they are. Bullshit. All illusions and deceits trash down the toilet once drunk in a real place. You know, real, pragmatic as human. Not some overrated hot spot with dress code and behavior code and all sort of social codes in order to prove that you are ok and able to perform the socializing rituals.
A shit hole, where you can be as true and pathetic, as all of us as humans are entitled to, is a bet against social cruelty that all relationships are built upon, in modern civilization. Is a true test, to see if you can be human and not freak out about it, not advertise it like it is some major discovery, not analyze it like it is something multicomplexed, admit it, without any guilt and embrace it along with everything included in the term human. Meaning, riddles, getting old, out fashioned, unique, menopause, hemorrhoids, decay, laugh, drama, making a fool of yourself, making love, dream, die.