She was wiping down the scarred bar for the hundredth time when the bell over the door tinkled. She recognized the big man in the doorway and smiled. Bear Johnson had been her high school flame and though life had led them down different paths, he was still a welcome sight.
His enormous form seemed sunk in on itself and he walked with his head held at an unusual angle. With a sigh, she retrieved two Iron City bottles from the cooler…one for him to drink and one to pacify the swelling bruise on his homely face. He slumped on a stool, accepting both with a sigh.
“If that’s the same door you ran in to couple weeks ago, you need to take the damned thing down.” she quipped. In a more serious voice she murmured, “Why do you keep letting that ungrateful bitch use you for a punching bag, you big ox?”
“Aww hell, woman, let it be. For all the work I do and no more than I bring home, she got a right to…act out a little. Didn’t used to be a war, you know…just the occasional battle.
With a hand calloused by years of hard labor, she gently wiped away a tear from his face. Softly, she whispered, “I can make that whole war go away for awhile…if you want.”
That night, in the gritty dimness of an old steel town bar, two lost souls merged, if only for a short while, into something quite wondrous.
This story was written for the weekly Thursday Threads flash fiction challenge prompt phrase: "didn't used to be a war, you know."