Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two Beers


I was with my friend who died three months ago in January. We were walking on a street beside the river, through a section of old abandoned warehouses. We came to a concrete ramp framed by a metal rail and followed it up to the back door of one of the buildings. He opened the door and we went inside. There was another door just a few feet in, guarded by a tough-looking young man who knew at a glance that we were both old enough to enter. He opened that door for us, and we walked down a long, narrow, carpeted hallway. At the end of the hall, we turned right and entered a dimly lit bar. We found an unoccupied table and sat down. A man I assumed was the proprietor, and who bore a striking resemblance to Abraham Lincoln, was sitting behind a small desk in the corner. He got up, came to our table, and asked us what we wanted. My friend said, “Two premium lagers.” The man bowed, went back to his desk, opened one of the drawers, and then returned with two clear, flexible, partially deflated rubber balls with short red straws in them. We could see the liquid sloshing around inside. My friend’s straw was sticking up; mine was folded down and stuck to the surface of the container. He took a sip from his, frowned, then offered it to me. Knowing he was dead, I was reluctant to drink from the same straw. He immediately understood and helped me free my straw instead. I took a drink. The beer was weak and warm. “This really isn’t what I had in mind,” my friend said. “Me, either,” I replied. We put down our beers and left. But the way out was not the way in. And so it always is, I thought. So it always is.


Update:
In the Forum: the tooth fairy and one last gasp.

11 comments:

Caio Fernandes said...

so it always is !! yes .
and the Lincon face guy should feel ashamaed for serving a premium larger this way .

Kenneth Griggs said...

The way out was not the way in. Going to use this. In italics, of course.

Wine and Words said...

Warm weak beer on the other side? Is nothing sacred? I find the back door to be the one which opens to understanding. The front door is for those to whom facade is important, and we brush past them on our way to another enlightenment.

This was a great read. I loved it!

William Michaelian said...

Or, Caio, we could look at it this way: maybe the beer was left over from the American Civil War, and he was doing the best he could.

Ken, thanks. I’m sure doing so will make you the life of the party.

Beer and — I mean Wine and Words: thanks. Could be, could be. To me the dream felt like a visit.

Janice said...

What a sad dream on one hand but a visit to the other side to see an old friend seems bittersweet~~~

William Michaelian said...

Hi, Janice. Yes, it was a pleasure and a reminder rolled into one. Things still come up in daily life that I would tell him about if he were here — things peculiar to our humor, temperament, and friendship. There was a lot of water under our bridge. The bridge is still there, but the water is running a bit slower these days. But that’s fine too.

rahina q.h. said...

there is always a silent acceptance of all things worldly in those who have died and i see in a dream...r.

Alberto Oliver said...

I like your words so much Will.
I always dream with Mona, a great dane i had when younger, she was huge and brave, she was always my guardian and my friend. Sometimes i have a dream where i am in the middle or an infinite plain and the moon light gleams with shy light, then i see a frightening shadow approaching and i get freezed by the fear, then it appears Mona, and it surprises me since i know she is death. She goes and confront the terrible creature, who decided not to go anyfurther, afterwards, i stroke my beloved doggie´s warm skin and think, satisfied, how nice it should be not to have fear, but it should be better, whe you are death, like Mona, and have neither the fear to die again . . .

Regards.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

I like your way to describe this dream... well I think that our inside are full of things that we can't imagine, I love to dream even bad dream, dreaming of a death person means a lot of lucky (so are people saying in sud Italy) it is a good signal...

"But the way out was not the way in. And so it always is, I thought. So it always is"... this sentence could be the base of live...

Elisabeth said...

I remember you writing about your friend's death, William, earlier this year.

He is still very much alive in your mind. Always will be, I imagine. To me your dreams read like poetry.

William Michaelian said...

Rahina, as best as I can remember, that’s also the case in most of my dreams. But sometimes they’re insistent or even impatient.

Alberto, your dream is amazing and beautiful, all the more so because of its willingness and need to return. Thank you.

And thank you, Laura. I feel that way too, and am glad even after a disturbing dream.

Elisabeth, thanks. I’m sure you’re right about Tim. And that is certainly the case with those who departed before him, some of them long before.