Shakespeare at the pool table
A pool table that has seen a lot. I don't want to sound too impressed with myself, but anyone who lets so many people play with them, watches them and eavesdrops on them, develops a kind of wisdom that can't be faked.
The girl who bravely asked the boy if he wanted to play pool with her, I will never forget.
The couple who got engaged next to me is always an entertaining story for friends, too.
The lady who pushed my cue ball a little too far over the target likewise crossed boundaries with her friend, whom she stole her boyfriend from the same evening… Well, that's quite a boring story.
But of all the love stories, broken hearts, newly awakened friendships and family feuds, the one of the bartender and the drummer is my favorite.
The inconspicuous glances, the humorous flirting, the nightly cleanup. They call themselves friends, but I know what they do when they are the last ones in the bar. I know they drink wheat beer straight from the bottle. I know that every time they decide to watch a movie, they don't even get five minutes in because one of them is always all over the other.
I've also seen the two of them argue. She threw cups at him, he cut insults into her lungs. I have seen him leave, leaving her behind.
She was able to put that away surprisingly well - until he came back.
The night he came back was the greatest drama that ever played out before my eyes. If I were Shakespeare, I wouldn't have to embellish it to emphasize the tragedy in it.
The night he came back.
He was greeted by everyone, amicably, collegially. They were glad to see him, throwing his name through the air as if it didn't shoot smoothly through her heart every time.
She hid in the kitchen, crying. I could hear it all the way outside.
But then, suddenly, her tears faded. He asked her to play billiards with him. She agreed.
That was her death sentence.
That night they both died on the green velvet of my back. A cue fell limply to the floor, leaving a devastating bang. The red ball was the last to roll.
The bartender and the drummer and how they destroyed each other. But no one knew about it. No one would ever know, because I, pool table with duty of confidentiality, would keep their secret.
The secret of two lovers masquerading as friends.
© Sophie Haller 2022-08-26
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