I met Douglas O’Malley one night on my way home from work. I stopped off at my local for a quick, but much-needed pint. It had been a rough day. Week. Year. But I kept going. Somehow. My local had become my second home almost. The barman knew my name and knew the type of beer I liked to drink. I would just need to say, Hi, as I stepped towards the bar, and he’d be pulling me a dark, smooth ale, all within two minutes. I liked my local.
Douglas O’Malley was sat on the stool at the corner of the bar. He had one hand on his near-empty glass, and the other thumbing through the pages of a national newspaper. Nothing unusual, except, he wasn’t reading the paper. He was just staring past it.
Calling the barman over, I whisper, “Is he alright?” nodding to the weathered man sat on the stool in the corner.
“Yeah, he’s just… been through some things. He’s a great character. A lovely chap.” The barman smiles and finds another customer.
Looking back at the ‘great character’, I tried to think about what things he could have been through. And my heart fell thinking of the possible worst. Shaking my head – shaking out those thoughts, I pick my pint up and walk around to the man sat on the stool in the corner. He lifts his eyes up from his paper – or the point past the paper and smiles at me.
“Hi, I’m Heather. Can I join you?”
“Hello, sure. Douglas O’Malley. Lovely to meet you, Heather.”
Prompted by this link.