My Bartender, My Friend, Everyone’s Nereya.

It seems that my adult life has been one long casting call for the perfect bartender.

Some years ago, I found the perfect lead to take on the role. Sometimes, I would get a drink on the house. Sometimes not. I kept coming back. Not only for the drinks. The meetings were civil at first – perhaps a little too civil. (A man is greedy, Nereya, and I’m certainly no exception.) Months would pass. They would turn into seasons. Seasons would turn into years. Lather, rinse, repeat. I lost count of the drinks but I kept count of our moments.

Two of the moments I’ll take with me (on the top of my liquored-up mind):

The time where I sat with a young woman (alright, alright, teenager) at the bar. I asked her how she would define “ego”. You passed us by and uttered: “You’re sitting next to him.”

The time we discussed a certain topic for over 30 minutes. That topic is private. I know you know, what that topic was. The world is better off never knowing what the topic was.

When you find someone who knows your handle, Nereya, you’ll fight a thousand fights before you can let that someone go. I realize, I have to let go – but just a little bit. We’ll see each other again. That I’m certain of – as certain I was when I knew, that we would get swimmingly along before we exchanged words.

You see, when you’re godless you don’t buy into biblical nonsense. When you’re loveless you don’t buy easily into love. Well, Nereya, you bought me into the notion that what two imperfect strangers can build together, can be so much bigger than the two … and that love does exist. Romantic love is one thing; it is destined to run out of fuel. But the love where no one asks anything in return, the kind that holds no gender, no color, is a purity you’ll find once in a blue moon. It will moisten your eyes and it will shake the oceans between two souls. Love is wordless. Why is it that mankind insisted on creating a word it could never define?

Nereya—my ego will dictate “my Nereya” but it’s everyone’s Nereya. I can live with that.

The heart will never comprehend “Good-bye” but it will understand ”We’ll meet again.” Fate dictates I will see you again … and again … and again. That’s what oceans can do. They remind us of the riches on the other side, the riches we must visit. The riches that are only a plain ride away.

Lastly, Nereya,

We’ve lived in bars
And danced on the tables
Hotels, trains and ships that sail
We swim with sharks
And fly with aeroplanes in the air

Send in the trumpets
The marching wheelchairs
Open the blankets and give them some air
Swords and arches, bones and cement
The light and the dark of the innocence of men

We know your house so very well
And we will wake you once we’ve walked up all your stairs

There’s nothing like living in a bottle
And nothing like ending it all for the world
We’re so glad you have come back
Every living lion will lay in your lap

The kid has a homecoming! The champion, the whores!
Who’s gonna play drums, guitar or organ with chorus
As far as we’ve walked from both of ends of the sand
Never have we caught a glimpse of this man

We know your house so very well
And we will bust down your door if you’re not there

We’ve lived in bars
And danced on tables
Hotels, trains and ships that sail
We swim with sharks
And fly with aeroplanes out of here
Out of here
Out of here
Out of here
Out of here