Rene’s place is looking emptier. Sort of. All the better furniture from the sixties is gone except for two gold velvet sofas and an elaborate bar. Together they take up an entire room. You have to scoot around the sofas to get inside the front door.
Rene says she can’t figure how they’ll ever get rid of the bar. She thinks her father built the walls around it. It’s massive, tall, puffy, red leather upholstered with black iron trim and matching bar stools. The stools must weigh 200 pounds each. They poke at you with little swords and horns of the bullfighting motif when you try to wedge yourself behind the sofa to sit in one.
A sticky note on one of the sofas is marked $250. So they aren't going anywhere anytime soon either.
Over the bar are dark blue blown glass light fixtures that hang on heavy black iron chains at head-bang height. Rene jokes that hitting your head is how they get dusted. The lamps provide a dull blue-grey glow and look like they belong in a dungeon. A deep porch blocks what other light makes it through the trees to the windows. The light strip under the bar doesn't work. Who knows what's down there. Rene likes cold box wine.
Right before Rene left she told me she had something for me. She’s talked about all the cool maps she found or photos, some of my family. I imagine she’ll impart a treasure like that. Or maybe one of those six electric popcorn makers on the upper cabinet.
That evening she carefully handed me a bottle of very very old …Tom Collins mix. The bottle was plastic and slightly warped from multiple yearly freeze-thaws and the color looked funny, nothing like lemonade. The expiration date was 2004.
I thanked her and said they must not like Tom Collins. She said she found it behind the bar and thought I could use it because I drink so much.