the old boozehound would always come at 11am;
never a minute too early or late.
Jim, the bartender, would get him his draft beer and
I’d greet him with a half-hearted raise of my bourbon.
for two years, we were the only two morning occupants of the bar,
we had hardly ever talked.
the old boozehound would drink 15-16 beers,
then leave at 5pm.
by that time, more had flocked the place
and no one even said goodbye to the old timer.
by 5pm, college students came in for a cheap beer,
signaling the beginning of the hunt.
the mornings were reserved for bourbon, and a few beers,
to eviscerate all the harrowing thoughts and memories
of dead love, of a life that could have been.
until one morning, as I nursed my second bourbon,
I realized the old boozehound hadn’t come.
half an hour later, both Jim and I exchanged a brief worried look.
then, we went back to our routines, thinking he’s sick
he never showed up again; he had died peacefully in his sleep,
leaving behind a wife, and three kids, a great big mansion in the suburbs,
two cars, a successful business.
the man who seemingly had it all
was one of us; one of the barflies drinking his days away.
a silent, half-hearted hoist of the glass
to the skies, to the man whose name I never learned.