Down the road at the bar, is a man who is talking about the places where he has lived and laughing when he finds out the stranger next to him has lived in many of those places, too. Down the road, watching the Red Sox game, is a man, a father, who is telling this woman about the business he owns, his involvement in a community she is familiar with, about his family. Down the road at the bar, is a man who is witty, flirtatious and intelligent.
On the stool next to me is this man. He is telling me about his kids. He is reminiscing with me about places "back home". He is watching me now, and not the game. He is telling me about his life, his family. He is unconvincingly without a ring, leaving gaps in his life story that only a wife could fill. He is telling me about his unhappiness. He reluctantly tells me about his wife.
Somewhere in the next town over tonight, is a woman. She's a mother of four boys. Her sons attend the schools in the district where I work. She's at home tonight. But her husband is not.
Somewhere out there tonight this woman is waiting. She is wondering what sort of errand to WalMart takes four hours. She is alone at home.
Somewhere tonight is a husband. Left alone on his barstool. Rejected for his offer to go elsewhere, he'll finish his beer alone or find someone else to tell his censored story to.
For somewhere in the next town over is a woman. Who, tonight, was offered more respect for her marriage by a stranger on a barstool than from her own husband.
It is a small consolation, perhaps, but I hope it is something.