Cal adjusted his stool at the bar to get closer to the woman who had both elbows on the hardwood, her hands cupped around a glass. “It’s been how many years since you told me to stop drinking?” he asked. The woman continued to look straight ahead, her sad face captured in the mirror, her neck cut off by liquor bottles. She touched the glass to her lips. “I turned out okay,” added Cal.” God, what a wreck I was, remember?”
The woman scrunched up her face and turned to Cal. “You have me mixed up with someone else.”
“No, that’s not my name.”
”What is your name?”
“Do you care?”
“Excuse me for saying this, but you look like you could use some cheering up.”
“Okay, asshole. I am Melinda. Don’t you remember what happened?”
Cal’s face dropped. He stared at Melinda, forcing himself to remember her. He waved at the bartender. “Whiskey on the rocks.! ” He took a drink. The whiskey lit up his face. Just this one.
“Is it coming back to you?” she asked.
Cal eyed the empty glass. He’d been here before with Melinda. They had already had the conversation. He reached over and took a sip from her glass. Pellegrino with lime. “Yeah, I remember the Pellegrino.” He waved at the bartender. “Pellegrino with lime.”
Cal and the woman stared at the mirror. They didn’t speak to each other. Cal’s breathing was labored and he squirmed on the stool. He didn’t see the bartender shaking his head.