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The Open Stool
“You want to know how it happened”? I smile, “well then, here it goes”.
. . .
That night seemed like the usual, filling beers, wiping the bar, and entertaining customers. The neon sign out front reflected in the window, its flash, hypnotic. If the sign read OPEN then the place was packed. The bar always smelled like a mixture of alcohol, cigarette smoke, and a small hint of vanilla from the candle in the back. That night the sound of laughter was overwhelming, and paper Christmas trees were strewn across the room in green, red, and yellow. A jolly snowman danced on the silent television behind me.
You wouldn’t have expected a bar to be that crowded on Christmas Eve, but that place was different. An open bar stool in there was like a winning lottery ticket. I heard the sound of the bells above the door ring signaling someone’s entrance. “Open bar seat” I laugh under my breath as the girl next to Marcus (a regular) stood up to leave. I reached below the bar and pulled out another stack of coasters and sat them on the counter. An empty glass from the other end of the bar slid at me, I pushed the beer nozzle down over the glass and looked up at the before empty seat. That was when I made eye contact with the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her green eyes glimmered and her white smile sparkled when she looked back at me. Suddenly, I felt my wet shirt and realized that I had missed the glass and was soaked with beer. I saw her mouth drop open, and she tried not to giggle as she took the napkins sitting next to her and attempted to dry me.
. . .
“She had been cleaning up my messes ever since.” I look down with a smile at my child gathered on the floor. “And that is how I met your mother.”

Story by Danielle Schumaker

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