What’ll you have?
Malt, she says. Neat. I tremble at a sound too loud to be held by the walls of Man.
And you, she asks, what do you want?
I already have a drink, I say, indicating my beer. It smells of incense and regret. He gave it to me. I nod towards the bartender. What I really need is an answer.
The years of prayer. A ruffle of wings is the only indication she heard me. I have more to say but dare not go on, a distant muzzle flash in the sudden darkness warning against it.
There can be no guarantees, she says. Such is the essence of Faith.
At this, my hands, suddenly wet, reach up to wipe blood from my eyes. Chastised, stigmatised, I bow my head. It, like everything else, feels terribly heavy. When I raise it again, she is gone. And I notice no-one else is kneeling. They don’t know what I know, believe what I believe: that Life can be hellish, but must be endured in pursuit of redemption. Amen to that, I think, as I raise myself up to drink my beer and her whisky.