Dating : Mysterious Muttering

h2>Dating : Mysterious Muttering

Petar Mitrovic

I was walking through the desert. The emptiness. A few clouds high up in the sky, pale white, almost invisible. The sun burning through every pore of my body, killing what’s the only alive thing inside me. What’s that? I don’t really know.

The road was straight and narrow but on the scorching heat, it looked as it was designed in an awful 3D, disappearing on the horizon. Where else could I go? One step after another, I followed it.


The abandoned gas station on the right side smiled at me. It was standing there, in defiance towards the sun, probably dating back to the 50s. I am sure it wasn’t like that when they first built it. God knows that this place was never crowded, but occasionally, somebody would stop by and fill up the tank in their ol’ American muscle car, dirt on side doors.

In the meantime a few cars might have been parked, with an outlaw couple, dining inside the restaurant whose owner was the manager, the waiter, and the cleanup boy.

To my surprise, the dirty “Open” sign was hanging at the entrance. I jacked the door to try to get inside but nobody was there. All I wanted was to get away from the heat and dry summer air, so I sat down to get some rest, my back facing the bar. Suddenly, I heard the door creaking in the back.

A figure showed up, an older gentleman, with a walking stick, a cowboy hat and one eye half-shut. He was wearing a gray beard, with few dark hairs sticking out, while his hands were shaking as he walked slowly towards the bar.

Nobody came here for more than six months,” said the old man. A great misfortune must have struck you since you’ve decided to get inside this dirty place.”

I just looked at him, a bit stunned that somebody was here in the first place. I decided to say nothing and just looked through the muddy window, to a more beautiful, yet just as sorrowful site. And there we were, two dead men and nature in an attempt. Desert where nothing grew. It was so fitting.

I live here you know, still, after all those years,” continued the old man. “People used to be cheerful, people who would come here. They don’t come here no more. Only a few strangers. Like yourself there.

He sat on a barstool and air escaped his lungs. “What do you want?” asked the old man.

Do you have any whiskey, by chance?” I asked boldly, although we both knew that wasn’t really the question

There’s some behind the bar — help yourself, pour me a glass,” said the old man.

I stood up, turned around and went behind the bar. It was old, the bar, made out of wood and it had that western city feel, mixed with classic American diner. Some boards were sticking out as if they were removed by force, but they probably bent due to constant heat. And time. A few bottles of bourbon, Hennessey, whiskey and vodka stood behind in a corner, all covered in specs of dust, all but the bourbon bottle. He was drinking this. I found two glasses, wiped them off my T-shirt and poured the sweet juice in. “Here you go”, I put one glass in front of the old man and returned to my seat, turning my back to him.

So? What are you doing in this middle of nowhere? God has forsaken these lands and yet the two of us are here. I know what I am doing here, but what about you, youngster?

I just wanted to be left alone: “I am passing by.

Yeah, you are,” said the old man. “My entire life is here you know. Even still. Even today. After all…after my wife passed…I…I pledged that I would never leave this place. You know. I know nothing else. This is my home,” he took a sip of whiskey.

It’s not a bad home,” I remarked.

It is not a good home either,” he smirked. “Do me a favor will you, sport? People don’t come here. So all I ask is a bit of honesty from you. A short conversation. Haven’t your parents taught you to respect the elderly?” said he as he gulped the remaining of the whiskey, grabbing a bottle again.

I stood up, walked toward him and took over the bottle. I refilled the glasses, this time I poured extra for both of us. I looked him straight into the eye. What I saw was a struggle, sadness but peace as well. “Alright,” I paused and looked down. “I am running away. From myself.

Ah, so, you messed up, right?” said the old man. “That’s fine. People mess up. What did you do, exactly? Do you want to talk about it? There’s nobody better to talk with than strangers. It is relaxing, relieving, even.

I am not in the mood. I answered your question. Plus, you ask me only out of boredom. You don’t really want to know.


Time snailed to oblivion and I jerked from my sleep. He was still there, visibly drunk, but not hammered. He was still in his operative state. The darkness descended a long time ago but I had no idea what hour it was. All I remembered was that we sat quietly and kept on drinking until I couldn’t handle my booze. I laid down at one of the benches. There were more comfortable than they seemed.

What are you still doing here? Awake. What time it is?” I popped the questions, more to myself.

The old man stood up slowly and went towards the back door from where he showed up. He muttered something on his way out. He paused for a second, as if he was about to turn around, but just shook his head and went on about his way.

I told apart a few words. Seemed like nonsense. Was it, though? Oh no! I have to wake up! I have to go, NOW!

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