Jen DeSantis’ Choice: Both
Title: Closing Time
Lacey sat at the bar, her fingers tracing the whiskey-slick rim of the shot glass. Her lips and face burned with the liquor that laced her breath.
She banged the bar with the empty glass and the bartender shuffled down. He eyed her up and down and she tried to hold his gaze steadily, but the whiskey clouded her vision.
“Just one more,” she slurred.
The clock on the wall said midnight and she knew the buzz she felt wouldn’t last the night. She wasn’t numb yet and if he made her leave now, the pain would return before morning. She needed another.
“Get out, Lace. It’s time to go home.”
“Jake, please. I’m fine. Just one more before I go.” Jake frowned and shook his head.
“No. Go home and sleep it off. And don’t come back tomorrow, eh, Lace? Take a break.”
Lacey stumbled out of the bar and into the cold, misty night. She tripped and turned her ankle. When she landed, she skinned her left knee. Lace threw her broken heel into the street and kept walking, the rain hiding her tears.
She couldn’t keep doing this. The whiskey didn’t dull the pain anymore. And even when she was flying high, it wasn’t high enough to forget the past.
When she reached her apartment, the first thing she saw was a picture of him. She kept meaning to take it down, to put it away. Only, to do that would be to take a step away from him. To take a step away from the time when he was alive.
The tears soaked her face and she knew this was the bottom. This was the place they warned her about in counseling, the place that could swallow her whole or catapult her out of the blackness.
Lacey felt no bounce. She lay down on the floor, too tired to even go to her bedroom. The weight of pain crushed her as the tears continued to leak out of her eyes unbidden.
The clock on the wall chimed. Three o’clock.
Closing time somewhere.
She didn’t think she’d go back to Jake’s bar that night, or any other night. She didn’t feel like she’d go anywhere ever again. It was closing time alright. But maybe, just maybe, when the sun kissed her face in the morning, she’d find the strength to get off the floor and try again for just one more day. And maybe that would be enough for today.
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Jennifer DeSantis is a Horror and Paranormal Author and host of the #FridayPictureShow. She lives near Philly with her family. In her spare time is an aspiring ninja.