I stared hard into my drink, as if to will a vision forth from the amber liquid. None forthcame. I sipped the rest of the expensive scotch and clapped the heavy crystal tumbler to the bartop. The mixocologist paused in his casual wiping of an already spotless glass and raised an eyebrow at me. I shrugged. "Why not?" I asked, and he filled me up from the bottle on the bar.
"There was one point where she'd managed to swing these really long lunch breaks. I guess it was because she was working so fucking late," I started, swirling the fresh dose of regret in one hand, the other wishing it still had the habit of gripping a cigarette. "I'd always had the afternoons off. It made the whole gigolo thing real easy. Clandestine meetings in downtown hotel rooms, none of that love hotel bullshit. We're talking the Prince, the Hyatt. Even the Four Seasons a couple of times. Just a 'short stay', you know? Even the high-class places had gotten savvy to the many uses of an empty suite. But no hotel rooms for her, no matter how pricey or elegant. She'd had her own place, just a short train ride from her office. I'd go there when my morning shift ended. She'd leave the key in the mailbox and I'd just let myself in like a stray cat looking for a saucer of cream. I'd write, or draw, or nap, and a few hours later she'd come in, still smelling sweet and fresh from her morning, yet with that tang of the workplace. Something like carpet-ends and misery, or tension and money. I don't know, really, but it had that smell. All of her office clothes reeked of it. It didn't bother me none, because under that stink it was all her. That foundation of her, the real rich perfume that was just her. Pheromones, I guess, if you're not into romanticizing it. Chemicals that just turned me on and made me want her and only her.
"So she'd come in, and if she was hungry she'd eat, but more often than not we'd just get into bed together and an hour later she'd go back to work with the biggest grin on her face. I'm sure at least some of her co-workers suspected, or knew the reason behind her smiles. How couldn't they? But I prided myself in that, knowing that not only had I made the rest of her day just that much better, but probably struck a chord of envy in her colleagues."
I took a deep gulp of the drink and sighed. "And now that's all I've got. Just the memories. But maybe it's enough."
"Maybe it's enough," he agreed.
2014.06.27 – 2023.02.27