"For me, that boardwalk life’s through." - Bruce Springsteen (Sandy)
Lights at the dive bar are dim and the music is loud. Too loud. Platters of greasy wings are being passed around. They taste good, but she's been here enough to know they may leave her with an unsettled stomach, second guessing. She asks for water because she woke up with another sore throat. Always with the sore throats, always threatened by the next cold, the next sick day.
She thinks of a place she can go where she won’t wake up run-down and scratched-up. She thinks of a quaint seaside town. One where she can walk to the ocean whenever she wants and inhale some of that ocean air. One where she can go to the nearby market in her pink bathing suit to pick up freshly made sandwiches.
Men sit at bar stools, backs hunched, downing drink after drink. She’s already been with an alcoholic before and doesn’t plan on expanding her trials. Men try to engage her or her friend with glasses of gin and incoherent babble. She excuses herself to the bathroom, noting the middle aged women who glow in their attention, who would stop at nothing to recapture their youth. Who would stop at nothing to feel better about themselves.
She thinks of a place she can go where she won’t be met by creeps. Where men with daughters or men old enough to have a daughter don’t hit on women half their age, or speak of them as if they’re in a junior high school locker room. She thinks of the small coastal town again. The shops in the hub of it all, let’s say they're on Main Street, and the views of the seascapes. She thinks of how green the trees would be in the summer.
She swallows that first glass of water at the bar, knowing it’s time to move on.