"Just gone?" I ask.
"Yeah. Havent talked to her in weekes. Like a goast." He hiccups, his brandy begging for a more attentive host. He gives his glass a friendly sip and its contents join the larger reservoir in his stomach. "I dont hav anything to say besidse that, thouugh."
"Sometimes people just leave and it doesn't make much sense why."
"Thats"--he raises a fist to his lips to conceal a burp that he successfully manages to subdue--"thats the saddest thing i've evur herd."
"Yeah." I split a peanut shell open and toss its fruit into my mouth. The shell's entrails crumble like cheap styrofoam between my fingers. "Shame how none of us have any idea what we're doing."
"Thats not it, thuogh."
"What?" I can see my eyebrow arch inquisitively in the reflection of the mirror hiding behind the rows of bottles on the other side of the bar. "What is it, then?"
"I knowe jujst what Im doin. I'ma gonna finishh this dreank, go home, nd read a book. Somthing good whurr people are kind and they smiel and love each other. Itl'l be smething with a happy endeeng that I kin kepe waiting for. And I'l feel better in th morning." He slides the remaining ounce down his throat. "Nd so will you."
He somehow stands upright, closes out his tab, and stumbles outside into a waiting taxi. I finish my pint of stout, say goodnight to the bartender, and walk the twelve blocks home. I turn on some My Morning Jacket and dive head-first into Willy Vlautin's The Motel Life.
It's a sad story. None of the characters learn anything, none of them have any moments of revelation or clarity. No lessons are taught and no morals are put forth.
Some stories are just sad.