It was a gloomy Wednesday night, early December. Around midnight the bartender stepped outside to have a smoke. Tiny, glacial raindrops were drizzling slowly with the wind, covering the cobblestone street with a silvery blanket. Under the balustrade of the tavern’s entrance he took out a pack of Lucky Strike, extracted a cigarette, perched it between his lips and gave it fire with a short burst of his lighter. He leaned back against the cold brick facade and inhaled deeply.
It was a slow night and the patrons showing up had been a cheerless crowd. Overcome with grief, panic or any other mix of emotions, they had sat there drinking disconcertedly, drowning the bar in quiet melancholy.
When the burning cigarette tip reached his fingers, the bartender flicked the butt onto the pavement and watched it fade out as he slowly exhaled the last smoke. Inside, only his brother was left, sitting on a barstool near the entrance, swirling a glass of beer. The brother worked as a lawyer a few blocks away and had come to the bar as soon as he had heard the news. The lawyer had given word about the USS Arizona and the total destruction resulting from the surprise attack. The bartender took out a bottle of rye. They would bury their father.
Four years later, on a sunny early August morning, another bartender was walking the central avenue, towards his place of business. The city was slowly coming to live, as people were starting their various activities.
There was a spring in the young man’s step. His wife was in the clinic and had just given birth to a baby boy. The budding father was happy, being able to provide for his family. He would clean up his shop and make the necessary preparations to accommodate his first customers. When the bartender arrived, he first settled himself on a chair to bask in the morning glow. He produced a pack of Sakura cigarettes from his jacket pocket and popped one in his mouth. A swift strike against the side of the matchbox brought a sparkling flame to the matchstick. As he was bringing the burning head towards the tip of the cigarette, he looked up and witnessed a bright flash in the sky.
With a deafening blast his world ended. The world would change. The bartender would celebrate.