Kortney listened to the blues floating down from heaven above. In this case, heaven was Marvin’s, a dive bar located on the second floor of a rundown building that seemed to have lived the hard life the lead singer was lamenting about. Kortney fondly stroked the broken brick façade with fondness. She had been coming here steady since she was old enough to fall in love. The problem was Marvin’s served liquor, and since Kortney had been thirteen at that time she could go no farther.
The regulars all knew her by name. Hell, some of them offered to sneak her in, but today heaven was about to open up for her. She took out her license and grimaced. She hated her picture, but that date blazoned on it showed she was twenty-one as of today. She opened the door and climbed those tired stairs, each step a religious pilgrimage.
At the top of the stairs the bouncer, Charlie, sat there on a tired looking chair. He rubbed the sweat from his bald head with a paisley handkerchief. “Hey there Kort. Aren’t you being a bit bold? You knows the rules.”
Kortney gave Charlie a smile. He was one of the ones always offering to sneak her in, but she never took him up on the offer. She always wondered what if, but now she knew it was worth it. This was worth doing it right. She held out her license. “I’m all good, sir. You just check it out.”
Charlie laughed and waved her hand away. “Girl, you think I don’t know what day this is? Get yourself in there.” Charlie got up and opened the door for her.
Kortney paused with her hand still out. She really wanted him to check it, to see that she really had crossed the threshold, but then she accepted his acceptance into the heavenly throng. She smiled a nervous smile and put her license into her handbag. She then crossed the threshold.
The music caressed her with a refreshing familiarity, but with a fidelity that set her soul vibrating. The bartender, Liza, nodded in Kortney’s direction and pulled a long draft, setting it on the ancient bar top. Liza pointed at the beer and then to Kortney before she turned to serve another old timer.
Kortney practically danced over to the bar. When the music paused she found her voice. “Sorry Liza, but I didn’t order this.”
“I did. It’s my birthday gift to you. I wouldn’t worry about thinking about paying for anything tonight, girlfriend. Tonight you’ve come home.” With that, Liza went back to her other customer.
Kortney picked up the beer and the band kicked into the next song. She slumped onto a bar stool and sipped at her beer. Heaven was better than she had ever imagined it was.