Inside the Mind of Your Favorite Bartender

Welcome To My Bar – Chapter 1

Chapter 1 – Elaine’s last words

My grandmother lay in the hospital bed unresponsive. As I sat there sad, with light tears running down my cheeks, I received something that was totally unexpected. My grandmother opened her eyes, looked over at me and said. “Son, if there is one thing in this world you can have, what would it be?”

My reply was, “my own bar.”

“Why don’t you have it already?” She asked.

“Because it cost $115,000, which I don’t have.” I replied.

My grandmother closed her eyes and took a very deep breath. While her eyes remained closed, she spoke again. “Son, money is all that matters in this society. A man without money is just a man. But a man with money is special because he has money. So what I’m saying to you son is get money. Get as much as you can.”

My grandmother paused briefly, struggling to catch her breath. After taking another deep breath, she continued.

“I’m leaving soon because I want to. I can choose to stay here, but I just don’t choose that. What appears to be cancer, a stroke or any other illness that I have suffered lately is just a choice. A choice to leave this place. So what I’m saying boy is, choose when you want to come and go. How much money you have, on a lot of levels, determines when you can and when you can’t make those choices.”

My grandmother closed her eyes and slipped back into that state of unresponsiveness. I just sat there hoping she would open her eyes and speak to me one more time but it was not to be.

After sitting and reflecting for another 47 minutes, the nurse, a beautiful Latina opened the door. “Excuse me sir but visiting hours are over, I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Without a word, I got up from grandmother’s bedside and walked slowly from the private hospital suite as if I was lonely and dejected.

I walked to the elevator, pressed the down button. My mind was empty, motionless. The one person in the world that loved me most unconditionally was never coming back. And knowing I was the last person she would ever talk to in this life, made me feel a heavy burden. I had to do something.

The elevator arrived at my floor and it was empty. I stepped into the elevator when I heard a female voice speaking broken English.

“Hold elevator. Hold elevator, please,” she cried out.

I looked back and a middle aged Latina woman holding the hands of two children was racing towards the elevator. Although I just wanted to be alone, I held the elevator because at that moment I saw the big picture. And somehow someway these people were a part of my big picture.

Once the three people were on the elevator safely, I asked the woman, “what floor?”

“The garage,” she said in a thick Mexican accent.

“Me too,” I replied with a pleasant smile on my face. She smiled back equally pleasant.

The two children she was with looked at me intently and intrigued. The younger one continuing to stare at me, playfully asked, “what’s your name?”

Before I could respond, the woman turned to the child and said, “be nice,” in Spanish.

“Ok,” the child responded.

Looking down for a few seconds, the child raised her head high smiling as brightly as the sun and said to me, “I love you.” After saying that, she looked up at the woman holding her hand and then said in Spanish, “is that nice enough grandma?”

As the elevator stopped on the garage level and the door opened, the woman looked at me and said in a very soft manner, “walk me.”

I stood there in disbelief, pausing for a few moments. The woman and two children had completely exited the elevator. Before the door had a chance to close, the older child, a young boy, held his arm in the pathway of the door to prevent its closure. He looked at me and said in perfect English, “come on Mr. Malcolm, walk with us.”

Temporarily forgetting I had a handwritten sticker on the right side of my Polo shirt that said Malcolm, I wondered, “how did this kid know my name?”

I walked the trio approximately 601 feet from the elevator to her late model Mercedes Benz S Class. She pressed the unlock button on her key, looked at the children and said, “say buy children.”

“Bye,” they said simultaneously.

They turned around and entered the rear of the vehicle through the driver side door. Once the children safely entered the vehicle, the woman reached into her purse and pulled out a smooth red stone and extended her hand.

There was a slight pause before I extended my hand out, comfortably smiling. She placed the smooth red stone in my hand with an intimate embrace upon exchange. I took possession of the stone when she uttered the words, “follow your dreams.”

Not quite sure, at that moment, what she meant; however, I knew I would soon find out.

As I watched her pull of, several thoughts ran through my mind. Specifically, why didn’t I get her name, phone number or email address? Whatever the reasons I neglected to act further on this universally orchestrated encounter, I knew that the smooth red stone she gave me would be our bond to the end.

I walked to my girlfriend’s car and opened the door manually, failing to use the remote entry. Before entering the car, I paused briefly to catch my breath as my grandmother did over an hour ago. I took it all in. What does it all mean? Who am I? Why did I meet an extremely attractive and young looking Mexican grandma and not try to take things to the next level with her? What was my next move? Fuck, the choices I must make. Something is telling me things are about to get real intense sooner than I think.


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