Jonathan looked down at his empty glass, it a fitting metaphor for his life.
His most recent sales trip had been a disaster. He was convinced that he was mere inches from crossing the finish line with the prospect — a handshake away from vacation, and a break, and another lease on life.
But as had often happened in his life, the deal fell apart in the final hours. His post-secondary degree, his marriage, his self-started business venture — he was used to it. At 42, he felt the best was behind him.
He motioned to the bartender for a top up. The order was quickly fulfilled, as the bar had drawn barren with Boston’s morning sun mere minutes from poking its head through the frosted, wintery windows of the dive bar.
As he approached with the glass, the bartender smiled warmly and spoke softly.
Jonathan chuckled sadly. “Rough life.”
The two shared a knowing nod before the bartender spoke again.
“I’m about to close up shop. Why don’t you let me take you to an afterhours place? It’s where service folk go when the morning comes and we’re off work. Generally a bit over the top, but it might lift your spirits.”
Jonathan let his entire drink slide down his throat without restraint before nodding in acknowledgement. “Sure, what the fuck? Let’s do it.”
When Jonathan awoke, he heard the sqwaking of what sounded like a parrot. He felt strangely hot given that it was supposed to be winter. And rather than honking horns and Boston accents, he heard a meek whisper of a breeze and the gentle wash of water draping over sand.
As he struggled his eyes open, he saw an unknown but pleasant-looking woman lying next to him and, next to her, the waves lapping at the beach just outside the door at the foot of the bed, which stood open and welcoming to the gorgeous landscape before them. He was stunned.
“Morning, sunshine,” she said warmly. “Please tell me you’re not leaving already.”
“Holy shit,” Jonathan exclaimed. “What the hell happened last night?”
He quickly scrambled out of bed and grabbed his wallet and phone from the dresser. Trying to piece together what had happened, he immediately lit up his phone, where he had waiting for him a single text message from an unknown number.
“there is life after 40 bro… U were drunk af but happy af last nit: enjoy ;)— bartender”
N.b., Capping off a particular adjective with “af” is an indication of significance, amplifying the characteristic described by the adjective. It is short for “as fuck”, which is a limitless quantifying measure comparable to the concept of infinity.
For example, one might get drunk, but when one is classified as “drunk af”, it suggests a limitless bound to one’s drunkness, which may or may not result in actions to be regretful of but either way remembered.