The politician. The jilted wife.
The street walker.
The teacher and the students.
All fall prey to the ravages
of bad memories, thwarted desires.
You thought I was going to say time,
(more) that old cliche
That would be too easy.
We all know nothing stays the same
and you could lose yourself in the chlorine green
pool of regrets
so be careful
and don't fall.(less)
I had the walk signal, but I felt my raised foot stomp back on the curb. I twirled on my heel, away from the intersection.
"Hey!" I called, squinting back into the late-day sun.
The woman clutching the binder to her chest turned to face me, he(more)r smile large. "Hi!" she said. "My name's Lisa. Do you have a minute to talk today?"
I opened my mouth, but nothing came out for a few beats. Her smile remained strong. Her binder was open now, ready to get my signature, paper me with leaflets, or offer me a donation slip. Finally I said, "No. No, I don't have time to talk today--I never have time to talk."
That scrubbed her smile, and I saw her eyes flick out to the sidewalk to catch another passerby and replace me.
"I just mean . . . Until about a week ago, you always asked me to take a minute. All of you"--I whirligigged my arms to indicate the city's other do-gooder corner pampleteers, though none were within sight--"used to ask to talk to me, and then suddenly you stopped. All of you stopped. All around the same time." She was just staring at me. "Radio silence," I added. She snapped the binder shut.
I opened my mouth again, to no words.
I turned on my heel again, back to the intersection; twirled back around. "Absolutely nothing about me has changed," I said to her. "I didn't make eye contact then, and I still don't. I look the same; I imagine I smell the same." I stopped just short of raising my arm to my nose. The do-gooder wasn't facing me; she just that instant managed to grab another person, one who wanted to give her a minute.
“Sorry honey, the price is the same no matter what we do. Time is money.”
“Fine,” he replied with a sigh, “Do you have a place then?”
Up in the hotel that charged b(more)y the hour, the two sat opposite each other on the bed.
“Okay so this is going to sound strange but I really have to tell someone right now and there isn’t anyone else,” the man started.
“Wait, so you really do just want to talk?”
“That’s what I said. “
“In my experience, no one ever just wants to talk.”
“Well today I do.”
He then proceeded to tell her about the espionage, the all too often times that the terrorists had been foiled at the eleventh hour, all the things the public would and could never know about. It took almost two hours to get it all off his chest.
“Why though, why tell me about all this?” she asked after he finished. “It isn’t like I can do anything, no one would even believe me. I don’t know that I even believe you. You could just be some crackpot. Why bother?”
“It matters to me, it matters that someone knows,” and with that he walked out the door leaving a generous wad of money on the dresser.