She looked his way. No one had done that in years. The older man sat at the bar and stirred his drink, looked in the mirror, then back at her. The dirty blonde kept looking at him. Alone, in her booth, she kept staring.

Probably remind her of her dad, the gentleman said, He took another drink, turned around once more, and she was gone. Vanished. Maybe it was an illusion. She never existed.

He finished his whiskey and ordered another. Looking in the mirror, he could see she was back. And now standing right behind him. He remained still. His hands trembled a bit. Turning in his chair, the two caught eyes. Locked in just for a second. She ordered a Manhattan. Then went right back to looking at his outline. The way his shoulders bulged a bit, his suede jacket with the patches on the elbows, the sweater covering the back of his neck. She leaned in to get her drink.

Her breasts brushed against his arm as she picked up her cocktail. Oh, sorry, he said. She smiled. She paused. The young woman carried herself well, the old man thought. She didn’t leave. Continued standing behind him. He began to question himself. Do you have the guts? he asked himself. Do you still have it? he slowly turned in his seat until he was facing her.

Would you care to sit down? Have a chair? he asked her. She said no, but motioned over to her booth. I would love to, he told her. Love to.

And there the two sat, side by side in silence. She placed her petite hand on his thigh. He smiled, you’ve still got it old boy. You’ve still got it.

I’ll bet you have a story to be told, she whispered. He said, no. I’m just an old chunk of coal, they laughed.

That’s too bad. I was hoping for a bedtime story, she moved her lips to his cheek.

Oh, I’ve got a story for you, he finished his drink. It’s a good one. About a man who fell in love. Years ago, he fell in love with a beautiful woman. And smart too. She was like Katherine Hepburn. Some kind of movie star, the young lady smiled. He loved her very much. They went on trips together. Paris, London, New York, they went everywhere. Until one day, she was gone. Left him in the middle of the night. She had fallen out of love with him.

So, he said. At that moment he decided to never fall in love again. He would not do that to himself.

The two kissed. I won’t break your heart, she said. He nodded his head. Said, you can’t. It’s already been broken.

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