Thursday, August 7, 2014

They Met for Coffee

She laughs at his jokes, a little too enthusiastically, too theatrically. He is older than she is, uglier too. But he has something she wants: freedom from the hassles of never having enough, of having to scramble for the basics, all the time. Her apartment is too small, too cluttered. Her work drains her with its tedium, the incessant imperative to be pleasant to the pseudo intellectuals, the egotists, the narcissists, the bullies.

He is nice to her. Calm. Kind. Pretty smart, but more lonely.

She looks past his paunch and his sagging, bulbous face.

He likes the slender grace of her long arms and narrow shoulders. Her hair is still thick. Her laugh is girlish and she makes him feel young again.

When she throws back her head at yet another of his quips, he is sure that this is something he will hang onto, something he will risk everything for: the wrath of family, the nasty slurs under the breath when he brings her to family gatherings, the exile from his golf group.

But he is happy. She seems happier.

She should be wearing a nicer summer dress, one that is cut for her form. She has grace and it should be displayed.

He wants to pamper her, show her places she has never yet seen. He wants her to see places, and be entertained, to be moved by fine music, art, beauty. They will go to Europe someday he says to himself as the wind blows her hair into her face.

He feels the breeze on his bald head. His bushy eyebrows ruffle imperceptibly. He listens to her and nods in polite agreement and understanding. 

She looks at him over her sunglasses, brushes away her hair, and dangles her elegant wrist and long hand over the back of her chair.

When she was a girl, she had dreams. She did well in school and was a good musician they said. She did not think life would turn into such drudgery, such tedium, with days that drag on and on. She did not think she would ever hate her life so much that she would play to the first passing hope of relief with the sum of her charms and so little regard for her heart.

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