THE BUBBLES CAUGHT the rooms light and seemed to glisten like glass beads defying gravity as they traveled to the top of Eddie's pale gold beer. Whether Eddie noticed was anyone's guess as his eyes seemed to penetrate the liquid, the glass that held it, even going as far as to seemingly peer through the concrete slab of the bars foundation. His mind was simply absent, trapped in the turmoil of a mind puzzling a problem.
The glass raising to his lips seemed more based on muscle memory than a thought. The slow slurp and exaggerated swallow probably not even consciously done. Eddie was on auto pilot. Eddie was isolated. The din of noise reflecting off the walls, the murmur of happy conversation, punctuated with hearty laughter was almost mocking to his ear as it tugged on his thoughts, willing them to be free of their one sighted prison, but Eddie didn't relent. He hated his job, his over bearing boss always on his ass about this or that, his clients always so needy and expectant of him solving their problems at all hours, in all locations. He could never remember so much stress riding his coat tails.
He was successful by the metrics society had created. Employed, married with children, owner of a home, a BMW. He had a heated pool in his backyard and a grill capable of hosting 100 people gathering dust on his raised deck with the gazebo top. His TV was too big for his living room, and his kitchen too spacious for the amount of cooking his family did. They had a maid so they could spend more time with the kids and less time cleaning, but the kids were rapidly gaining independence and Eddie wondered if maybe the cleaning might be more soothing if done by his hand as the maid never really got the bathrooms to his liking.
"Another one?" The woman behind the bar asked.
Eddie looked to the glass in his hand, emptied without his permission. "Yep, same," he responded.
The empty replaced, Eddie sipped the beer and fell back within himself. Charlie would be 16 soon. Should Eddie give him the Beemer and get himself a new one? And what about when Claire turned 16 in two years? Would his wife give her the Suburban?
"Hey, this seat taken?"
Eddie looked up and was lost in eyes that seemed to hold the ocean, blue and glistening. "Knock yourself out," he said with a smile, his dark thoughts temporarily extinguished. "Buy you a drink?"
The woman giggled and gave her order to the bartender. "How was your day?" She asked, genuine interest in her smile.
"Same ol' same ol'," Eddie responded, turning his full attention to her. "Something on my mind though."
"Oh yeah?" The woman said.
"If we give Charlie the BMW for his birthday, what do we do when Claire turns 16?"
Eddie's wife burst into laughter and shrugged. "We have some time to figure it out."