Twice Twenty-one

John K Adams
ILLUMINATION
Published in
8 min readJun 8, 2024

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Sitting at the bar in Tavernier’s Pub, Arlene stared at the glass of ice that had held her drink. The place was nearly deserted. She wished she was elsewhere.

‘What am I going to do?’

Wiping glasses, Ken, the bartender eyed her. She signaled for another.

What can I do? What happened? Too much to wish for a second chance?’ She thought about her twenty-year marriage to Charlie. ‘So much promise gone south… What did I miss?’

Ken replaced her empty with a fresh drink. He wiped the bar top.

Arlene said, “Thanks, Ken.”

Returning her look he cocked his head to the far end of the bar. She saw a man sitting several stools away. His suit and tie contrasted with the casual dress code. He raised his drink, smiled and nodded.

She nodded and asked Ken, “You know that guy?”

Ken said, “Bradley. He’s okay. Been coming here for years. Always takes that stool.”

“What’s he want?”

“Conversation. Never got any complaints…”

“Huh… never noticed him.”

“You’re not a regular. He’s a fixture.”

Arlene nursed her drink and mulled her dwindling options.

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John K Adams
ILLUMINATION

I write to see memory and language wrestle with reality. Please comment.