A New BeginningEdit
“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ― Carl Bard
I looked around the nearly empty park, the grey sky almost matching my eyes like that day so long ago. It was cloudy, almost like it was going to rain. There were only a couple people out, a woman who looked like she was in her late 30's running, an old couple out walking, and a mom with her 5 year old daughter out on the playground. I sat on the old metal park bench, pulling my jacket closer to my body from the freezing wind. I set my guitar down by me, checking the jet black case for my earnings for the day. $35. Not bad for 4 hours of work. Then again, I don't really know if sitting on a park bench playing old Beatles songs on my guitar to get money is work. But it's all I've got right now.
I slowly sat up from the old bench, grabbing my earnings and putting them in my pocket, and carefully placing my old guitar in the case. I shut the metal snaps with a loud clunk. I looked up at the darkening sky. It was getting late.I slung the heavy case over my shoulder, ruffling my blonde hair, and started walking to see an old friend.
I walked through the messy New York streets, the foul smell filling the stuffy air, threatening to suffocate me. My heavy guitar case thumped against my back as I shuffled past busy New Yorkers. My old (previously white) converse were covered in dirt, one of the toes was also ripped a little. What could I say? These were my favorite shoes. My shoes reminded me a lot of the streets here, once clean, now a horrible mess. The tall skyscrapers loomed over my head, the black buildings reminding me a lot of giants. I walked my usual path down to a familiar corner, the smell of alcohol getting stronger with every step I took.
I stepped in the bar and sat right at the counter in front of various bottles of liquor, a bigger, balding man to my left and another man who looked to be in his 20's to my right. There was a good number of people in here, but this bar never really had bar fights or any of that stuff. It was a more sophisticated atmosphere in here. Then again, there were the occasional grumpy customers who caused problems, and I only felt sorry for the bartender who was working at that hour. A tall, older man with brown hair and a bit of a beard growing (which he was totally proud of) stood with his back to me behind the counter, obviously making a drink for someone. I smiled.
"Hey, Phil." I called out. Phil turned around and saw me, his blue-green eyes lighting up at the sight of me. He quickly set the customer's drink in front of them, giving them a smile, then walked over to me.
"Niall! Boy, it's been a while!" Phil grinned and pat me strongly on the shoulder, almost causing me to fall out of my seat. I placed my guitar case down by my feet, keeping my legs firmly holding to the bottom of the counter in case anyone here had any ideas on taking it.
"How have you been doing?" I asked nicely. I liked Phil. He was the closest thing I had to a father out here in the concrete jungle, ever since I left Ireland to try and start a music career. When I needed help, he was always there for me. And of course I always helped him out whenever he was in a tight pinch. However, the thing I loved most about him was his ability to give advice. He was wise beyond his years, even if he was working as a bartender. I tended to think he was everyone's favorite guy around here.
Phil shrugged his broad shoulders. "Alright I guess. How have you been? I haven't seen you around here recently mate, and I'm not entirely sure if that's been a good or bad thing." He laughed, smiling and setting a glass in front of me. "You want anything?" I shook my head.
"Just water is fine." Phil nodded and filled my glass up with the clear liquid, watching as I drank half of it quickly, my throat parched from singing all day.
"How much did you make today, superstar?" Phil teased. I emptied my pockets in front of him, watching him intently as he nodded slightly, his brows furrowed in thought. "Not bad. But really boy, you need to get yourself a proper job. Wouldn't want my favorite lad going broke, now would I?"
"No, I know Phil. I'm working on a job. Believe me, I'll get on stable ground money-wise." I comforted him. Phil began cleaning glasses, shrugging again.
"I've heard that many times before Niall. I'm still waiting and watching for it to happen." I sighed in understanding. I wasn't doing too good finding a job, actually. Sure, I had a decent education, but what I desperately wanted to do the most was make music. I wanted to sell out stadiums, have the best fans in the world, and sell tons of albums. I knew it was a far fetched dream, but I would do anything to make it happen. I heard someone clear their throat and noticed Phil staring at me. "Sorry, what was that Phil?"
"I said I've got good news mate." Phil's smile returned and he set the glass down carefully.
"And what is that?"
"I'm gonna start taking college night classes!" Phil practically yelled with enthusiasm. I was shocked for a second. Phil was taking classes?
"That's great Phil!" I smiled and laughed. "I'm so happy for you!" Phil nodded and his gaze seemed to drift far far away, as if he saw his dream life just within a few centimeters. Suddenly, his colorful eyes flashed back to me, and I thought I saw a hint of sorrow in them.
"However, if I'm gonna take these classes, I'll have to quit my job here." I froze at his statement.
"W-What?" I asked hesitantly. Phil couldn't quit. Everyone here loved him, he made this place feel alive with happiness. He couldn't just leave. Phil nodded sadly.
"I'm gonna have to leave, lad. I only work the night shifts now. And the bar isn't open in the morning, of course, and the other workers take care of the afternoon shifts. So I can't do the night shifts anymore." I looked down at the countertop. This wasn't fair. Of course I was happy for Phil, but who was I going to talk to when I needed advice? It wasn't like I could walk to Phil's house, it was too far away. And if he wasn't going to work here anymore...I sighed. Then, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked up and saw Phil smiling sympathetically. "It'll be fine, Niall. You'll be fine. Trust me."
"But you can't go. Who will I have to talk to?"
"Your friends. And your family. People care about you Niall. You're not alone." I sighed again, running my fingers through my soft tufts of blonde hair in worry. It wasn't that. Everyone's lives seemed to be taking off and soaring to greater heights, getting better, while I was still stuck in Central Park, playing old songs for pennies. Heck, Phil was 35 and he was better off than me, and I was 20. "Come on Niall, don't be upset. Tonight's my last night here, I don't wanna spend it in sorrow. You can always come see me or call and we can talk. Okay?" Phil looked into my eyes, and I nodded slowly. True, I would still have Phil even if it wasn't at my favorite bar. I could live without seeing him everyday at a bar.
"Good. Now can you do an old friend a favor?" He asked. I nodded. It was the least I could do for all the times he had helped me. "I want you to come in tomorrow and help out the new employee. They don't exactly know everything that goes on around here, but you do. Please Niall?" Phil begged. I smiled and took another sip of my water.
"Anything for you, Phil." he smiled and thanked me. I noticed the time and silently cursed to myself. 8:00. I had to get home soon. I told Phil goodbye and started to head out the door, when I felt a tug on my arm. I turned around and found Phil hugging me tight. I gasped for air and Phil laughed his deep laugh once more.
"I hope your music thing works out Nialler. You never know, maybe you and this new bartender will become as close of friends as we are." he flashed me another smile and I nodded, stepping out into the cold New York weather, heading towards home. Maybe Phil was right. Maybe I could become friends with this new worker. People tended to like me a lot. Maybe I would get lucky and get another friend. After all, Phil tended to be right a lot.