Ana wasn’t the only girl in the bar, but she was getting all of the bartender’s attention. He said the things he says to pretty girls, and he looked down her blouse when she laughed. She stood at the bar with one foot on the rail and her hip cocked, so that her ass got the rest of the male attention in the room. It’s not a woman’s bar, really. I don’t think even sex workers go there much.
It’s not a parole officers’ bar either. I wouldn’t meet any of my colleagues, which was the main thing. Ana saw me in the mirror, squealed, and came up to give me a smudge of lipstick across my mouth and left cheek. And a rub of nipples across my shirt. I disengaged her, and because she looked so cartoonishly sad at that, I smacked her bottom before pointing to a booth where we could talk privately, and told her to go there.
“But my drink.”
“I’ll bring your drink. Go! Sit!”
I picked up the rest of Ana’s drink from the bar, and ordered a beer for me and another tequila sunrise. The bar guy was friendly enough, but I got barely enough change to insult a busker. For me, happy hour was over.
I carried the drinks to the booth – three drinks! two hands! – and sat facing Ana. I was expecting to talk about her father, and press her on her other news. But she said, “You smacked me.”
I couldn’t work out if her voice was accusing or triumphant. She was right. I’d done something I had no right to do, one of the things that I’d told myself I wouldn’t do. It was a watershed moment, and I should have noticed it at the time.
“Ahh hell. I did, too.” Then, suddenly, other feelings took hold. “Because it was about time. And I’ll do it again, girl.”