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Ice rattles in tumblers, billiard balls clack, leather chairs groan as summer suits settle into them. Men laugh and their polished shoes clunk on the wooden floor that gaps the perimeter of the old rugs. Several day-sparrows spark around in the city trees outside along the avenue, somewhere a siren works its way through traffic, and a Martini shaker is making a muffled "shick-shick-shick" at the bar at the bottom of the stairs. The summer air is cool enough that the large windows are open to the city, giving that soft salted Atlantic sky full permission to fill every corner of the room.
Two men are chuckling their way through a friendly debate, one almost four times the other's age. By the window, another claps twice as he laughs. Friendly jeers as the critical shot misses its pocket. By tradition, the winner stands quietly after the handshake while the loser alerts the next player that they're up. The next player takes off his light-weight blue blazer before chalking his cue, and several others playfully mock the seriousness of his gesture.
For a minute, I allow thoughts to swirl of friends I haven't visited in a while, relatives distant, and the unforgiving fragility of perfect moments.
No phones chirp, no televisions drone, and no gossip slithers around, just the conversations and laughter of men, of unique unguarded friendships, and of an overdue leisurely Friday.