For our bar story series, we have invited some of our contributors to share a story, an episode, an experience that took place at a particular bar–a place that they hold in their memory for one reason or another. We hope you will enjoy reading these stories as they appear each Monday.
by Ann Hood
The psychic looked at me and said: “You will go to a bar with sawdust on the floor. Someone will tap you on the shoulder and when you turn around you’ll find a man you knew in high school. He has dark hair and a mustache and will have on a very thin gold chain. You’re going to marry that man.”
I was 25 years old and had no interest in getting married. But a few months later, I was visiting my parents back in Rhode Island when my old friend Jane invited me to meet her at a bar called Alias Smith & Jones in East Greenwich, a small picturesque town on the bay.
It was a summer night, warm with a star studded sky. We sat at the bar and drank cold pints of beer. Someone tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around to find myself looking right at a guy I’d dated in high school. I’d really liked this guy back then. We’d gone dancing one night at a place near the beach, and afterward kissed in his convertible. But summer was ending and we’d gone off to different colleges. Now here he was, grinning at me from beneath his bushy mustache, the slightest glint of a gold chain showing through the hair on his chest.
I didn’t think of the psychic or his prediction right then. I was too caught up in how giddy this guy made me feel. We danced that night on the sawdust floor in that little bar in East Greenwich, and spent the next week catching up on the almost decade since we’d last kissed each other. Only after he was gone did I remember. I shivered. Surely he would come back, I thought. The prediction was too accurate to not come completely true.
In a fairy tale, or even some novels, he would return to that bar, to me, and we would indeed end up together. But in this story, we each married other people. It was winter when I saw him again 30 years later, but by then Alias Smith & Jones had long since closed.
Ann Hood is the author of 8 novels, including the bestsellers The Knitting Circle and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine; two memoirs and a collection of short stories. Her most recent memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, was a NY Times Editor’s Choice and one of the top 10 non-fiction books of 2009 by Entertainment Weekly. Her new novel, The Red Thread, was published on May 1st.