The man sitting beside me was a crook. Among other occasional activities, he regularly fenced, and he sold cocaine to the university brats, but I imagine if he had to fill in a form that included a blank next to the question ‘occupation’ he would write ‘night club security’. Actually he’d write ‘bouncer’. There wasn’t much pretence about him. His bouncing work was just the place where he conducted the more profitable work. This I knew before I met him and bought him a pint.
He wasn’t particularly big, but there was an air of ‘don’t fuck with me’ about him. Standard issue shaved head and square jaw. What set him apart were his allergies. For all his toughness, his sensitivity to pollen betrayed him. He always had puffy red eyes and a steady line of tears falling from them. He bore this inconvenience with stoic resignation. He only rarely used the back of his hand to clear the tears from his cheeks. Usually, he could be seen in front of the club wearing his black button down shirt and trousers with his unintentional melancholic appearance.
I am feeling melancholic looking into his face as he talks about the local football teams' win last weekend. The empty blue feeling begins in my stomach as I look into those tear filled red eyes. Even though I know the reason for his sad countenance. I want to comfort him, if only to console myself. Later on, he interrupts my babbling about the upcoming fireworks night and the fourth of Julys of my childhood.
“Just feeling a bit down I guess.”
“Well you shouldn’t be drinking. That won’t help.”
“Yeah. You’re probably right. I think I’ll head home. Nice meeting you.”
“No worries pal.”