AD VIVUM

By admin on May 18, 2011

“OH! I’m sorry.”
“Excuse me?”
“I was staring at you. I thought you saw me staring at you.”
“Excuse me?”
“You look… I didn’t mean to… I thought you looked like somebody I knew.”
“Me?”
“Do you mind if I sit down? I was staring at you. You didn’t see?”
“Frankly, no, I — ”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you. It’s just that, well, I thought you saw me staring at you.”
“Because I remind you of somebody.”
“Yes.”
“Well, no, I didn’t see you staring.”
“Then I’m sorry for the intrusion. Um…”
“Yes?”
“It’s just that… May I sit again? Can I get you something? A drink?”
“Oh.”
“No, no, it’s not like that. I owe you something for the intrusion, don’t you think? For disturbing you? I mean a coffee or something.”
“Tea, actually.”
“A tea, then.”
“Of which I already have a cup, thank you. You’re staring again.”
“I know, I’m sorry. I’m very sorry. Should I go?”
“I didn’t even ask you to stay.”
“Oh, yes, that’s true, isn’t it? How horribly presumptuous of me. I am sorry.”
“I hope this acquaintance of yours realizes what a deferential companion she’s lost.”
“What makes you think she lost me?”
“Hm?”
“I mean… Well, how did you know?”
“It’s not hard to see.”
“Really? Oh, I am sorry!”
“What are you sorry for now?”
“It looks like… Well, doesn’t it?”
“Hm?”
“I mean, I don’t want you to think I’m walking down the avenue looking for sympathy. That is how it looks, doesn’t it?”
“I hadn’t really — ”
“Because that’s how it seems to me as I consider it. I wouldn’t want you to think that. I’m sorry if that’s how I’ve presented myself.”
“Honestly, I didn’t think about it much one way or the other. The only thing that does occur to me is you are undoubtedly one of the most apologetic human beings I’ve ever met.”
“Oh, I’m — ”
“Please don’t say it.”
“I almost did it again, didn’t I?”
“Yes.”
“I had to catch myself.”
“Well, there are worse habits.”
“Do you mind if I have a cup of tea? Can I get you a fresh cup?”
“That would be nice, thank you.”
“Let me get the boy… Excuse me, Sir? Two teas? Do you take lemon or… Never mind. Bring both, please. And, um, the tea cakes. That’s a platter, yes? Please, thank you.”
“You didn’t have to do that.”
“A little decadence keeps the soul centered. Resisting temptation is hardly admirable if you don’t know what you’re missing.”
“Interesting if debatable point. Tell me…”
“Yes?”
“I don’t mean to pry.”
“At this point I would consider you entitled.”
“You’ve made me curious.”
“Then the responsibility falls to me to allay that curiosity.”
“This was recent, wasn’t it? You and…your companion?”
“I didn’t think so. I mean, not by the calendar.”
“Oh. You seemed so… It seemed recent.”
“I cared for her very much. I suppose that carries quite a long time.”
“Yes.”
“Ah, here’s the tea. And the cakes! Please, try them.”
“No, I — ”
“Try one. I insist! I promise; no more fawning apologies as long as you try at least one.”
“Well, that’s hardly a bargain I can refuse. Oh, yes, this one is quite good. But you’re not eating.”
“They were for you.”
“Now I feel like a perfect little swine! You must — ”
“The tea is fine, thank you.”
“Is it my turn to abase myself?”
“I’m really not at all hungry.”
“Neither was I! Oh! Did I upset you?”
“Oh, no, no! I’d feel absolutely horrible if you felt I — ”
“Then enough said on it. Agreed?”
“Agreed. Sealed with a toast.”
“Agreed. Your toast.”
“Mine? Hm. All right, then. A long and happy life to you!”
“And to you! It is possible, you know.”
“I know. All wounds heal, yes?”
“Yes. And they do. You must have cared for her very much.”
“Very much.”
“And if she knew what she’d left… It seems to me a woman who would leave someone as dear and considerate as you…”
“You’re just catching me on a good day.”
“Still, in my view, it doesn’t speak well of her from what I can see.”
“You’re very kind. But — ”
“It may even have been for the best.”
“Out of adversity comes opportunity? Plenty of fish in the sea and all that?”
“I didn’t mean to… It’s my turn to apologize, I’m being an insensitive clod.”
“No. It’s all right. You see…”
“Just a totally insensitive — ”
“You see, she died.”
“Oh.”
“Yes.”
“Oh. Well, I… Then I am being — ”
“No need to say anything. I feel terrible putting this on — ”
“Have a tea cake.”
“Excuse me?”
“As you said, they are quite good.”
“All right. You see, in the beginning, you don’t think…you don’t think you’ll go on, that there’ll ever be anything else for you. Bu there is. And after you go on for a little time, it’s not even all that difficult. And that’s good. That you can go on, find other things. It’s just…I miss her sometimes. I just… I should go.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Actually, I had been on my way to meet some people. Check!”
“No, no, please! My treat.”
“I couldn’t allow that. Not after — ”
“Ah, you imposed, you are the transgressor! I get to decide what amends there’ll be. Waiter, I’ll take that, thank you.”
“That’s very kind. Actually, you’ve been very kind all along. Well…”
“Yes.”
“I, uh, should…”
“You know…”
“Hm?”
“I envy you. I envy you missing her. She was very lucky.”
“So was I.”
“Yes. Um…”
“Yes?”
“Do you come by here often?”
“Sometimes.”
“So do I. If I see you… Maybe we can share a pot of tea?”
“And cakes?”
“I would like that.”
“A good afternoon to you, then.”
“And to you.”
“Take care.”
“And you.”

PROSE_BILL MESCE JR.

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