“Refuge”

Stuart Heath


Stepping out of the Texas sun and into the quiet comfort of a narrow corridor occupied by only a staircase and a doorman positioned half way to its peak, I climb to my point of interest. I make my way directly to the bar, side stepping that same table, continuing my trek in spite of the tunnel vision gained once a single goal begins to mix into a destination. There are two women sitting at the bar. I don’t look at them, but they sound like they’re in their late thirties and they talk of mutual friends in excited spirits as if they haven’t met in ages.

The bartender is one I’ve never seen before.

We exchange pleasantries. “I’m well.” “It’s been good.” “Thanks for asking.” When I ask if Cameron isn’t working, she notices I’m no stranger and speaks to me in a more familiar flavor.

“An English major.” I respond. So is she. The conversation is lovely but feels too long and embarrassingly empty on my part. We’re both shocked we’ve never seen one another, we’re both sure we will someday, and our discussion is concluded comfortably and accompanied by an interior sigh of relief followed by a closed tab and a signature as a garnish.

Retreating to my corner, I’m greeted by the dim light of translucent blinds feeding the room just as much luster as the space requires. I take my seat of sentry on the torn dark leather placed in the corner simply so I can have proper proof of the fact that I’m alone. The dart boards, the bookshelves, the hanging lights. People filter in and out in small numbers, and all I can think of is that today is my birthday.

Non-fiction piece by Stuart Heath

 

Stuart Heath is a writer from the greater Houston area and he recently graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in English, focusing in Creative Writing. At the end of the day, he is simply a storyteller who could not receive any more joy than what is provided from finding any possible combination of words in order to create something new. Stuart’s work mostly includes poetry, creative nonfiction, and lyrics, but he loves exploring all genres that comes his way.