Thank You for Hearing Me

I sit in a deserted airport hotel bar. It is the end of the working day – the point where late afternoon becomes early evening. All the day’s meetings are over and my colleagues have caught their flights home. It has been a productive day and I feel good: in fact, I’m buzzing.
Sat alone in a booth, I contemplate the fresh coffee sitting on the table in front of me. At the bar, the barman is busy cleaning away the half-drunk cappuccinos and the remains of business lunches paid for on expenses. On the far side of the bar, there is a man sitting alone at a table. I feel the urgent need to mainline. In this moment of peace, I need to connect with the muse.
I spread out my papers on the table and begin scribbling, drawing structures of words, testing conceptual models, and most important of all, getting ideas down on paper before the Thought Faeries come and whisk them away. Time like this is precious to me. I’m trying to keep ‘project book’ moving on, but life just keeps getting in the way. Work is just frantic, I’m home late, and by the time I’ve fed the cat and made my own dinner it is usually time to catch some Zzz’s. I’ve written practically nothing for weeks, which annoys the hell out of me.
Tonight, I have no-one to rush home to. Tonight, no-one is expecting me back. Here in this moment I have the time to structure and consolidate my notes without any interruptions, time to sink into the zone, to connect to the flow, time to join up those dots, because in this place I feel alive.
I’m dragged out of my contemplations and back into reality as the bar’s one other resident appears at my table with a tumbler of whisky in his hand.
‘Can I sit at your table?’ he asks.
Shit… the bar weirdo wants to sit down with me. Is he hitting on me? Yet, this guy doesn’t look amorous, or dangerous; he is short, white, in his fifties, and obviously drunk. All I want to do is to write my poetry, to let the blood, to get it out of me, and for a fraction of a second I want to tell him to fuck off and go and find his own table. Can’t he see that the new Elizabeth Browning is busy at work? But there is something in this man’s eyes, in his face, in his body language. He looks more upset than aggressive.
And then I do what I’m supposed to do. I invite the man to sit down at the table with me, and more reluctantly than I should, I stop writing about people, and start listening to the one in front of me.
‘My name’s Billy.’
‘Hi, I’m Lisa.’
Billy tells me that he has been there for two days, that he is an alcoholic, a pisshead, and now he knows the bar staff personally. Anger ripples through me; they have been serving Billy with waters from the Lethe continuously for forty-eight hours. Billy has a job to go to abroad, but he can’t face getting on the plane. Somehow his confidence had snapped. He cries. Tears roll down Billy’s face, and I listen.
He asks me if I’m a councillor. I tell Billy the truth; that I’m a surveyor and store designer, that I work in retail, I work out which sites are the most suitable, and I help design shops so people will spend as much money as possible.
‘Why are you doing this for me?’ Billy asks.
‘I don’t know … maybe I’m meant to,’ I reply.
We talk for an hour and a half, and then Billy decides to go to his room to get some sleep. He thanks me.
We shake hands.
Billy leaves.


  1. Wow. I love your blog. I just stumbled upon it, and I don’t comment like this often but it really is honest. That’s what I crave, what I search for. Rawness. Please, don’t ever stop writing. Even though it feels like no one ever listens. You got my attention.


    1. Thanks Sky, just had a look at your stuff and you’ve got soul and authenticity, honesty too. Please don’t stop writing either. INFJ, that’s a great mix for a writer.


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