Loud blues plays in the dining area of the popular bar and Louisa can barely hear herself think. She also struggles to read the contract for the next job in the establishment’s “atmospheric” lighting, and as the burn hits the back of her throat from the shot of whiskey she has just downed she ponders the next year of her life, and then the previous twelve.
A dozen years since graduating from her beloved State College, and all the wide-eyed optimism that comes with youth. In that time, in the decade or so she has been an “adult” (whatever the hell that means) she has slogged her way through one low-level job to another. Most of that work has been fighting the good fight, the one she promised herself since eighth grade as her sisters, neighbors, and cousins had to make do with less than enough, but still they, or at least she, did it. Some of the work has been retail, food service and whatever she could grab to make ends meet between campaigns.
Now she is in demand, sort of. Now after a successful campaign to reform the tax breaks her home city doles out to “improve” development a national organization wants her to tackle a similar campaign in a major metropolis. It is an opportunity of a lifetime, one she has earned and yet she remains uncertain. This little city of hers has been her nursery, her home, and her battle ground for thirty years. Taking this chance will be leaving the only world she has ever known behind and she is not entirely sure she is ready.
She nurses the micro-brew over small talk sprinkled with sales pitches from her last boss and her would be new one. Between talk of pay and the benefits of the prospective new place of residence come inanities of this song or that, this cute guy or that. It takes the pressure off, it lets her step away from it while still considering.
This is her favorite watering hole, this little bit of the Big Easy in the North East. She will miss it. She takes offered drink from her boss. She examines it briefly as they toast new beginnings before she takes the shot.