A small flame heats a covered section of the bar terrasse.
It’s for the smokers and their bewildered though accommodating friends.
There’s life outside at night. Contained life, temporary life. A glimmer of July in the middle of January.
It can’t last, but we try to make it. Smoke’s done, light another quickly, before people catch on. Keep the conversation going at all costs.
It’s more than addiction or ritual. It’s blissful denial of seasonal constraints.
We’re all in this together. If some leave, others will take their place.
As long as the outdoor heater, our tribe’s ceremonial fire, burns brightly, we remain, in defiance of the elements, in defiance of our external reality, proud, self assured and somewhat warm.
Oh, shit, it just went out. Someone get Alain, he can fix it, it’s his job. Wait, he’s busy.
The tribe disbands as we head inside. I needed to piss anyways.