Saturday, Nov. 09, 2002
A month or two ago, Alex and I walked into our friendly neighborhood "British" pub and spotted a face we hadn't seen before darting through and between the tables. We happened to grab a table in her section and when she asked for our order I asked how long she'd been working there. Alex and I have been inconsistent regulars all summer. I have no idea how I could have missed her since February. I could have cried.
Holly is extremely personable and chatty, the kind of person who instantly makes you feel like you can tell her anything and she'd never bat a disapproving eye. Except when you order the House brew, a thin nut brown ale with high alcohol content. That night Alex and I were feeling very indecisive about what we liked. We asked Holly if she could recommend something to agree with our tastes; something slightly bitter, hoppy, not quite a stout but certainly nothing creamy or lemon-y. Her suggestion was New Castle and a few others close to it. I always cringe at the thought of being caught with New Castle; my associations with it are of college freshman recently escaped from parental tyranny to the planet London, kicking back bottles of the stuff in some public park as if we'd done it all our lives.
Holly speaks in a great Texas twang that lends a touch of attitude to her animated presence, and more than a touch of...appeal. Alex and I are now loyal patrons of whatever section she happens to be covering. She steps up to our table and instantly guess our order: "A pitcher of Horse Piss Brown?" On a typically busy night she only has a few moments for banter. While she's floating around the floor Alex and I twist our necks all around the room to see her bantering at other tables. Everyone loves the way Holly makes them feel interesting.
Last night Alex and I strolled through the crowd and found a vacant table in the back corner, next to "the Don's table". When someone named Gary - I'm guessing a recent law school grad paying off loans at the Brass until that big firm calls - took our order, I realized we'd sat outside of Holly's area. Lately, if Alex and I need an excuse to have a drink, a chat with Holly usually comes to mind, however short and impersonal. I happened to catch her eye as she surveyed to crowd. That flash of recognition when she saw me added a little shot of adrenaline to my nervous system. Holly came over and sat next to Alex on the bench and leaned in on the table. She scolded us for taking a table out of her section; we pleaded with her and told her that Gary had already given us a "look" concerning our choice of beer. I reenacted the scene for her amusement, putting on the "eyebrow". Then she dropped the bomb.
Holly is quitting the Brass to have surgery on her ankle. "Well, it all began way back in February..." She'd twisted her ankle and unbeknownst to her or her doctors, Holly has been walking around on a slight fracture for the last ten months because Brass management told her to walk it off. She warned us that these next five days will be her last if we wanted to catch her before she leaves.
Muther. Focker. So much for my resolution to stay dry for the weekend.
On our way out the door Holly stuck her hand out at me sideways in a half-hearted gesture at shaking in urban arm wrestling style. I asked her if she likes movies because I had a hunch she'd say she does. I was already planning on setting up regular screenings of cool and unusual films from Sean's collection while Holly is laid up during her eight weeks of recovery. Although I didn't say that outright, she seemed all lit up at the idea of a regular supply of free movies.
I hope she's as cool as I think she is.
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