by Marcus Jonathan Chapman
It was Flamenco night. Some black haired, olive oil skinned man was grating his finger tips on the guitar. A woman whipped her skirt around her legs with one hand while clacking castanets in the other. A spot light illuminated the two on stage, the only other light coming from the candles at each table.
“More sangria, sir?” the waiter hovered his pitcher over my glass. I nodded. He poured. I chugged.
I chewed on a bit of apple that made its way through my teeth and watched the Spaniards sweat on stage. The woman began to sing. A haunting wail that sounded like the agony of regrets. She twirled and sang words that sounded like the poetry of the dead or the drunk.
It was my fourth Sangria. My eyes began to water and tear splashed on the table. Maybe it was the music or maybe it’s because mixed drinks are hard to judge.
I looked around the room. A woman with white hair and spectacles clapped her hands. A man with a bald spot threw his shoulders back and forth to the rhythm. A young couple was making out in the corner. The waiters danced with their trays between our tables.
I looked at the empty seat across from me but didn’t feel regret. I couldn’t place the feeling.
I flagged down the waiter for another Sangria and sat, trying to figure it out. All this raw emotion and rush of feelings but I was alone. In younger days it was easier to identify my feelings. This is happiness. This is regret. This is anger. As I grew older, the feelings tied themselves to memories and experiences, making it harder to untangle one emotion from another.
And so this is it. A moment. The moment. It leads into the next and swallows whole each moment until you find yourself alone. It wasn’t pity I felt for myself, just a reminder that when life is around you, it must be grabbed, touched, caressed, held, laughed at, cried with, struggled with…
To feel it all, all at once and acknowledge that I was feeling. That’s all that was necessary.
The waiter filled my glass. I took a sip before setting it down to enjoy the rest of the show.