“So how was your date with our little Alise over the weekend.” Rubert teased.
“It wasn’t a date Rubert, we went furniture shopping and he hardly bought anything. It felt like pulling teeth to get him to take a lamp and a crappy bedside table.” Alise responded as she came out of the backroom with a stack of papers for the auditors.
“Ha ha ha ha.” Rubert rolled over laughing. Bob who was serving one of his regulars in a corner interjected, “Well some people are minimalists…as long as you had a good time…you had a good time right, Dorian?”
“Who wouldn’t with Alise, but she knows nothing about the importance of coffee.” Dorian answered.
“That is because I grew up in a bar.” Alise responded. At this, the whole bar bursts out laughing. Unfortunately, at this point, Clarence walks in morose, in a socked and worn gray suit with his tie disfigured, and said dejectedly, “I guess I am in the wrong place.”
“More like the wrong mindset.” Aunt Glenda said, as she enters behind Clarence, tucking her umbrella into the stand by the door. Then she proceeds to give Clarence a slap in the back, “Life is hard, Men need to have grit and not be whiny…my Richard fought in actual jungles, you should be able to handle the corporate jungle.”
“It’s not work, Aunt Glenda. At least not this time. It’s Lauren.”
“Oh my God. Is Lauren alright?” Aunt Glenda shouted. The whole bar quieted down immediately, even the fresh faces who had no idea who the players were.
Alise rushed to the door saying, “Clarence, Aunt Glenda, what’s wrong with Lauren…”
“Alise, everyone relax. Clarence, Aunt Glenda, stop blocking the door of my business. Come in, have a drink. I have just the bottle for raining days and deep conversations. Rubert you know what I am talking about.” Bob soothed.
Rubert rushed to the store room, while Dorian dropped his book on cocktails to attempt to serve the other customers.
“Dorian why don’t you help Aunt Glenda to her spot, I will take over the bar.” Bob said.
“I am not an invalid…” Aunt Glenda complained, removing her brown coat to reveal a peach coloured floral dress. Clarence rushed to his stool at the middle of the bar while Alise embraced Aunt Glenda before linking hands to guide her to her table. Dorian was left holding the bar divide before switching to picking up a rag to wipe down the bar.
“So what’s all this about Lauren…eh…Clarence?” Aunt Glenda asked.
“Oh my God, I don’t know what I’m going to do…Lauren…Lauren moved out.” Clarence answered.
The bar quieted again and everyone felt the heavy mood. Then Bob asked, “Why you right? Was it her boss?”
“No, no. She moved in with one of her girlfriends. After talking to you, two Sundays ago, I calmed down…sort of…but we were still fighting…occasionally…it wasn’t my fault. Every little thing just seem to make her mad; ‘why won’t you help out more’, ‘why are you always checking up on me’, ‘where is the confident man I married’…but she was spending so much time outside the house and she always seem so happy and excited when she came back from work. So I finally asked her if she was cheating on me with her boss…and then she started crying.”
“Idiot!” Aunt Glenda interrupted.
“Let him finish.” Bob said as he poured Clarence a drink. Clarence just stared at the glass. A few minutes late he added, “I have never seen her look so hurt and frustrated and sad, all at the same time. Today when I came back from work I found a note on the dining table. All it said is that she is at Joan’s with the kids and there are leftovers in the fridge. I tried calling her but she won’t answer and she had packed a month worth of clothes for herself and the kids.”
“Well…” Bob started but Aunt Glenda interrupted again.
“Can I say idiot now? Hmm…let me tell you something, young man. Women respond to confidence and attention and relationships work on trust and communication. No one wants a whiny, jealous and useless man.”
“Aunt Glenda!” everyone exclaimed.
“What? He doesn’t need cuddling he needs a swift kick in the rear to get him going. Gosh, I don’t know what is wrong with you men of nowadays, even my grandson is like this…flaky. We women want men of substance. I am just calling it as I see it, aren’t I right sugar.” Aunt Glenda said, turning to Alise.
Alise snuck a glance as Dorian before saying, “Well, I won’t mind a man we can support me but also stand up when needed.”
“Hey, hey. You all aren’t helping Clarence solve his problem with criticism.” Rubert interjected.
“Well, it is not all bad.” Dorian added, “I mean she is still in love with you.”
“Huh…how do you figure?” Clarence asked.
“Well, when you confronted her she was hurt and frustrated but sad. She probably felt betrayed and disappointed but when she wrote the note she still cared enough to tell you there are leftovers and where she was going. I think you should use this opportunity to court her like you did before you were married.” Dorian advised. Bob smiled and Aunt Glenda seem to approve; Meanwhile Alise starred openly at Dorian with a slight flush in her face while Rubert with a crooked grin nudged Clarence drink closer to him.
“Woe my wife…woe my wife.” Clarence mumbled, then downed his drink and rushed out of the bar.
“Ha ha ha. Well said Dorian.” Aunt Glenda praised with Bob nodding his head on the side. “Maybe I should get you to talk to Ralph as well, my grandson…he needs a good shaking up.”
Rubert mumbled to Dorian, “I think Ralph’s case needs a professional…”
Alise frowned at Rubert and said, “Ralph is just young Aunt Glenda. He will grow up soon.”
“Don’t try to sugarcoat it, sugar. Ralph is a bum. He has no job…God only knows what he does to make money, he has kids with three different women that I support. Never should have left him with his dad after my daughter died. He learnt all this rubbish from his father.” Aunt Glenda complained.
“I won’t mind meeting him even though I am not sure how much that would help. Are you close to him Alise, can you introduce us?” Dorian didn’t know why but he want Alise to respond with a ‘no’ and when she said that they grew up together but were not close, he was relieved.
“Don’t worry, I will bring him by next time I come. When is your next shift?” Aunt Glenda asked.
Dorian responded, “I only work in the afternoons on Tuesday and Thursday but I can stop by any day but Wednesday.”
“Why what happens on Wednesdays?” Alise asked
Dorian smiled mischievously and said, “Now now Alise even guys have their secrets.”
Bob and Aunt Glenda shared a glance as they watched Dorian and Alise banter. Even Rubert was beginning to realise that something was happening between this two. The only ones still in the dark were Dorian and Alise.