Loneliness calls in at--actually, no, it doesn’t call in. It never calls in for Tifa Lockheart is never actually lonely. Not when she is a member of Avalanche, a group dedicated to taking down the evil Shinra Corporation. Someone is always around the bar, be they patrons or fellow members so she is certainly never alone. She prefers it this way as the alternative means picking up the phone and calling loneliness, which is something she never desires.
Neither does Barret, the leader of Avalanche. He is nearly always around with his daughter Marlene. His huge black bulk easily dominates the couch, while the little girl is playing just below the television. Barret is watching a soap opera, something that is no longer a surprise to Tifa. She remembers having to watch him to believe it, but now she watches him for different reasons.
She is smiling. She does that everytime she even thinks of Barret. He is a rock in her eyes, a solid rock that could never break. During missions, his decisions are split second, every move is carefully planned and calculated.. When someone gets in his way, he steps on them, making sure that he and his group are the last ones standing. Tifa feels invincible when Barret is near, even while he is relaxing in front of the television. She hopes she can feel that way forever.
When she goes to sit by him, he doesn’t move. He’s too hypnotized by the goings on of fictional soap opera characters. Even if he weren’t, Tifa knows that he would never tell her to go away nor would he indicate that he is uncomfortable with her nearby. In a way, television is a glue, a glue that binds the two of them together. Game shows and soap operas draw them together when Avalanche does not. They don’t often speak when they’re sitting in front of the television, but they sure do laugh and that sends Tifa into outer space. She hopes Barret feels the same.
She never feels this way when she thinks of Cloud. Not that she no longer cares about him, but he seems like a distant memory, a representative of a childhood lost to fires caused by a lunatic. Once upon a time, she had a crush on him, but now? She doesn’t really know, except that she doubts that they could ever be anything more than friends. Once upon a time, that made her face fall like some of the stars over Nibelheim. Now, her face is tilted toward Barret’s. She knows that no stars could be seen in Midgar Section Seven, but she honestly counts Barret as a bright star. One that would guide all of this large city to a better, more free, future.
Tifa would be part of this, and she swore up and down that she would never leave it. She couldn’t even imagine doing that, not for anyone, not even Cloud. Ideals certainly play a part in this, but she begins to wonder if it has anything to do with Barret himself. As the soap goes into commercials yapping about how great Shinra Inc. is, she decides it doesn’t matter. So long as she could still carry out missions for Avalanche, everything would be okay in Tifa’s life.
So far, so good, and the next day, things are the same in the small bar. People come and go, while a few stay for a little bit. She is never bored while she mixes the ten thousandth drink and prepares the nine thousandth Choco Wings dinner. Tifa could never find this job tedious because she knows that it leads to eventual action for her organization. It also leads to Barret, and he is on a stool know with a beer in his good hand. He always sits to the side of her in the center stool. When he speaks, he is loud and when she answers, she is the same. When she smiles, he answers with a smaller one, but he is always nodding. They could go on for hours and through countless patrons. No one messes with either of them. Tifa could turn any unruly patron into a kabob, while Barret could easily turn one of them into a slice of swiss cheese.
Fortunately, no one has been unruly in ages, so it makes things easier for members of Avalanche to exist among the dark, dirty streets of Sector 7. The bar is one of the few lights in the area, and Tifa hopes that it would expand to the whole city like evening stars. She has faith that Barret could do this, even while he is again sitting on the couch watching the same soap opera as he has done for years. Marlene is again in front of the television and Tifa does not hesitate to sit beside him.
She could do this forever, and once she looks at Barret, she realizes that she could easily be doing just that. The only difference being that Tifa feels a little different today. She feels like floating or glowing, especially when she feels Barret so close to her. Tifa can’t explain why and when Barret turns to her, she realizes that she doesn’t need to.