The Strand

It was, more often than not, the smiley ones I was nervous about. They more contemtpous ones would look down at you even before you turned the corner towards them. While we approached her I knew it was going to happen.

‘I’m sorry, but you can’t come in. We’re full.’ She says

I tilt my head around her and peer in. The place is empty. I look at my watch and it’s not even 11. ‘This is bullshit. Let’s go.’ I say to the others but loud enough for the security guard to hear

Lock out laws suck.

‘You know I do wonder sometimes if I’ll feel the zest for life I had a few years ago.’ I say to her.

‘I think you can. Life wears us all down deshou?’

‘Yeh, but sometimes it just feels so broken down that I can’t take it. Like there’s a python pressed against my chest, squeezing anxiety and doubt out of me. This black python has been around me since I fucked my sitch in Tokyo and had to leave you.’

She nods and thinks for a second. ‘I knew it, but it just takes time to get over things and feel whole again’. 

I guess it’s the only thing to say to something like that

South Virginia

‘I never knew that South Virginia wasn’t a state.’ He says taking a sip of his coffee, savoring for a second. ‘I mean… like, I never checked but I always assumed that it was just… that there’s are all these other cardinal direction names for random states like North Carolina or West Virginia or South Texas.’

‘There’s no South Texas. South Texas would be Mexico!’ She says.

‘Oh… right’  He immediately tries to move, to break his mistake, but clips the spoon with his oats on it on the edge of his bowl, dropping it and creating a reverberating echo in the cafe. After a brief moment of silence he looks up at her, ‘Let’s go North.’

Sun seeps through the cave, water rushing from 20 feet above, she slips on some damp moss infecting the rocks. ‘I hate that!’

‘Hate what?’ he says turning his body a few rocks ahead of her.

‘That feeling you get after you’ve found stable ground for a few steps but something changes and your equilibrium is off. When I was a kid we had this boat we’d take on the river.’ She grabs a rock and climbs over. ‘My dad would take us on it to go fishing in the Fall, and he’d always look forward to it.’ She stops and looks upwards towards the water drops falling. ‘But he would always, always play this trick on us. We’d be on the boat for a while, and then he’d ask me or my brother to come change the bait. As soon as we’d taken a few steps toward him, and got our footing, he’d grab either side of the boat and rock it.’ She looks down towards him. ‘That feeling, you know? It’s just so discombobulating.’

‘I love that word.’

‘… and he said ‘That Stalin… he was a real JERK.’ he says into a blank stare on her face ‘I think the comedian I saw tell this joke told it better’

‘I think so.’

‘When do you leave again?’ He says.

‘Saturday. But I’ll be back.’


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