Write about: the protector.
Started our day off with pancakes and bacon this morning before going to the beach to meet up with our bakery friend and his son. Had some good fun there before heading back here for lunch.
Which, if I recall correctly, was around the time that Max realized he has not been getting nearly enough sleep lately. Cue the meltdown.
Eventually we gave up and let him have a nap, which was good for all of us. Because we all slept. Of course he was still cranky when he woke up, but at least that finally passed. And he still managed to get to bed tonight at a reasonable time, so that's a win-win in my book.
The pub was quiet, but not unusually so. Not for mid-afternoon on a weekday at least. Three tables were occupied by men and women who were not looking for trouble. The stools lining the bar were empty, save for the one in the exact middle.
That particular seat was struggling to support the muscle-bound bulk of a man working his way through his fifth drink of the hour. He, too, was not looking for trouble... but he was not hiding from it either.
Was he inviting it? Perhaps.
Luke, the bartender, had already considered cutting the man off and sending him home. He could sense that no good would come from the man continuing to drown his pain at his current rate. By the time his problem drinkers (in every sense of the term) arrived the man would be a bomb ready to go off at a moment's notice.
He placed another drink in front of the man (Luke was still trying to work up the nerve to inform the man that he'd had enough for today) and lingered for a moment, polishing an imaginary spot of dirt off the bar. The man didn't even look at him before picking up drink number six.
"Rough day?" Luke ventured as compassionately as he could manage.
"You could say that."
"Want to talk about it?"
The man eyed Luke for a second, sipped his drink, returned it to the bar, opened his mouth, and then shut it again. Sighing through his nostrils, he ran a hand through his short hair and shifted his weight from one side to the other.
"No worries," Luke said, raising a hand in retreat. "I've been there bef-"
"She was my responsibility." The man kept his gaze down. His words were so quiet Luke had to hold his breath to hear him properly. "She was my responsibility and now she's gone."