Richard Marx runs his finger over the tip of his glass. Two empty beer bottles are cast aside on the counter. Next to him, a fiftysomething man coughs. He rubs his forehead.
Hands in his coat pockets, he walks in the ice blue city, passing two homeless warming themselves by a burning garbage can.
At the bar, he watches as a fortysomething man places some money on the pool and challenges the second man to play him. As the eight ball falls into one of the pocket, a sepia filter is applied.
Marx studies the balls on the pool table and turns his head while a couple walks into the bar.
In the late fall, Marx stands against a chain-link fence.
He sees the young woman place her arm on the counter and tap her fingers against her cheek as her boyfriend greets the bartender. The boyfriend pulls her t-shirt and they move to talk to the owner. The boyfriend ruffles the owner’s hair and orders them drinks. She plays with a napkin and meets Marx’s eyes.
She takes the two beers and nudges him as she walks to the table. She sits down and watches as he gets a bottle of beer from the table.
In the present, he shakes his head and pays his tab.
Back in sepia, he and the young woman laugh as he drives in figure eights in a parking lot. She puts her hands over his eyes.
In the present, he thanks the bartender and leaves.
In sepia, they lean against his car and cuddle. She stares at him, wearing an off-the-shoulder top.
He continues to walk as the snow begins to fall.
The coarse wind reddens Richard Marx’s ears as he leaves the bar. Every weekend, he returns, hoping to see his ex-girlfriend again. He sits at the bar and talks with the bartender. The bartender tells him he hasn’t seen her in a few months. A few months, he thinks, that’s when they broke up. He drops an ice cube in his glass and watches it splash on the counter.
He and his ex-girlfriend met at the bar. She was with someone else at the time but it didn’t stop her from talking to him. He whispered to her that he wasn’t sure they should be flirting so openly in front of him. She shrugged and told him that her boyfriend didn’t care. As her boyfriend got drunk, they got to know one another and exchanged phone numbers.
From June until August, they dated. He knew they had an expiration date and was dreading it. She was taking a summer class at New York University and hoping to use the new skills she learned to find a better job. She really wanted to stay, though. In their last week, he suggested a long-distance relationship, which she rejected. She added was planning to move there in the winter and maybe fate will intervene.
As he leaves the bar, he believes he’s forcing fate and waiting for someone who won’t be in his life ever again. Christmas will be coming soon. Perhaps she will visit the friends she made in the city and he’ll run into her somewhere. It’s the last of whatever hope he has left.
Director: N/A Year: 1988
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