faceless, my love

We were in that bar and there was nothing about it. The furniture was the usual, the music no longer relevant, the lighting was sparse enough so that one could not see the traces of wear countless stranger butts had left behind on the leather. Grapes of people sat together, but many tables were empty. Some young women didn’t sit far away from my group and my friends were still joking among themselves, but with each further long drink, their participation in our conversation seemed to wander further away towards the women’s thighs. I didn’t have any expectations in the evening left. We sat there on a table and sipped our last drinks at 3:30 in the morning.
“Do you like one of them?”
“Nahhh…cheap dolls out in nice clothes”, I answered as I thought Ätz face expression asked for a deeper explanation, “though I found the one behind the bar quite cute.”
The silent Miro, the whole evening he was somewhere else and only smiled along, now spoke up: “Don’t fall for the bar girl”
“You mean the woman with two faces?”, asked Ätz me and I nodded, “believe me, you will never get her. She doesn’t deal with the likes of us”
“Was she mean to you?”, I gave him a pitiful sneer.
“No, it is not like that”, Chang remembered, “the legend has it…”
“…the legend has it? Is this going to be a Chinese folktale now?” mocked Ätz him.
“I’m just trying to build a stage for my story, so shut the fuck up”
“Oh what the hell is this nonsense”, I threw out with a deep sigh. I spotted a waiter, they only one, a tall guy, and waved him over to me.
“I’ll have another beer”, he noted it down on his pad and was about to leave when I grabbed his arm cautiously and kept him there, “…and the one behind the bar”. My three companions pricked up their ears.”Yeah, what about her?”
“Does she have a boyfriend, a lover, or – oh fright – a husband?”
He smiled as if I had said something stupid and deserved to be mocked.
“My friend…ask her yourself”
The waiter left, and I saw him shake his head. His long blonde hair was beating out the tips of a grain field on an autumn day. The listeners at the table giggled.
“He won’t get a tip from me”, I said, “All right, I’ll go up to her then”. I got up and before I could make my way to the bar, Chang said: “I wouldn’t do that today”; “Why not?”; ”Her hair is red”; “And?”; “She doesn’t always have red hair. This is just a bad time”.
“Not the colors again”, said Ätz with a sigh as he dropped his face in his hand. Even Miro pulled an annoyed grimace.
“Because your two faces story is much better”; Chang hissed sharply. I sat down again. I wanted to hear what Chang had to say.
”Speak up, what is it about the color in her hair?”, “Well, I’ve been watching…” “You mean you were staring”; Ätz already intervened. “Well okay…I was staring…and I noticed she seems better off when her hair turns brown”, “Did you somehow get any verbal confirmation in a conversation or did you just observe it?” I asked him slightly irritated. “Well, actually, just observing”, “Yes, Chang is a scaredy-cat,” Ätz mocked him, “How long have you been in love with her, Chang?”.
After listening to this bullshit, I got up and said: “I think you’re interpreting way too much into this”, “Whatever, it’s your happiness. I’m just saying, she’s currently not running away from you”.
I sat down again. That damn Chinaman had infected me with his superstition. Since I wasn’t thinking of going over there anymore, I listened to the rest of Chang’s observations. The level of detail in his narratives made me shudder, as much as it fascinated me and made me pity Chang. My beer came, I drank and listened. Soon the girl behind the bar wasn’t human anymore. My friends made her a mythical creature through their stories. It became mythical and mysterious. A hole without a bottom, a vessel for daring promises, cursed from outside into this world to reluctantly rob hearts with its two faces and the deceptive splendor of hair.
“I’ve never seen even one lure her in front of the counter”
“I tell you…two faces”, and Ätz started explaining his theory of the faceless lady.
We laughed and drank, for we spoke of angels and goddesses, demons and devils, of curses and punishment. Everything was comparable to her, but nothing really came true. Even Miro repeated his warning: “I’m just saying, don’t fall for the girl behind the bar”. I took his advice. I didn’t look at her anymore. Whether out of consideration for Chang’s feelings or because she sounded much more exciting from afar. She was probably like the rest of us, but I wanted to believe that someone like her existed.


< Previous Chapter: Endurance might be the most valuable virtue
> Next Chapter: I will try my luck in the wilderness.

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