"Can anyone explain to me how love can blind?"
The question was left floating in the air with the cigarette smoke and the perfume.
Wakefield set down his newspaper, his young face hidden by thick glasses and an orderly mustache. He looked to his friend with concern— the one whose question had been left unanswered.
"Charles man, you speak too often of this subject," Wakefield protested, taking an impressive amount of hot coffee in one swig.
"Because too often it comes to my attention," Charles answered, talking around his cigarette, which was currently sealed in the corner of his mouth. He was a tall fellow, young as well, but thinner in bone structure and louder in speech.
He had his eyes glued to a pair of lovers lingering on the sidewalk outside their window. Charles pointed openly at the two with an accusing manner.
"Look now, see? Look how she laughs brightly and he, yes, well he can’t help but attempt to impress her. And then what if one is in love with the other too much?"
"How do you mean?" Wakefield wondered.
"I mean exactly what I mean. Listen, Wakefield, I know a fellow who does not love the girl as strongly as the girl loves him. He cannot help but think he must end it. He dreads the task." Charles explained sucking at the cigarette between each sentence as vigilantly as if it were the thing keeping him alive. "Now, he says to me that he has given this girl, a charmer really, hints where his love lacks, but she is—well hint-less."
"Well he aught to end it before she sets marriage on her mind! Before the mother or the father become involved!" Wakefield said adamantly, flicking the edge of his fedora up farther away from his eyes.
"Ah pishposh, that can mend itself in time! No I want to discuss the girl."
"What of the girl?" Wakefield mumbled, now fiddling with his coffee cup.
"Her blindness of course!" Charles said. He then let a long trail of smoke slide from his mouth to mingle with the hazy air. "I think love has blinded her so much to see that love has fled the man. She is singular in a situation that requires two individuals. What do you suppose she thinks?"
Wakefield, of course, didn’t know how to approach the question, so he took another long swig of his coffee. He stared thoughtfully at the lovers now crossing the street, hand in hand.
"Well…" he said, letting the thought trail off in hopes that Charles would take over—which he did with reverence.
"Well she must think his indifference only a part of his character. His cold remarks a result of a stressful job. The unwillingness to touch a sign of fatigue. But you would think that the combination of all these would cause her to wonder… No instead she speaks highly of him to her friends and family. I don’t understand." Charles ended by waving his cigarette in the air as if to catch the wispy answer as it flittered by.
"Oh, why can’t you just read the paper in the morning like any normal man. There’s a good bit on the front page about Truman backing Roosevelt’s policies."
"I’m tired of talking about the damn war. We can discuss that when we head over to corporate and Robby mentions that infamous bomb project again." Charles complained. Wakefield leaned forward at the mention of the bomb project.
"What is your opinion? I think it is the gates into a very different kind of warfare. May the bigger bomb win is what they will say." Wakefield tapped the open paper with a finger to make is point more direct. Charles openly ignored him.
"I think love is a weakness," he remarked more to the window than to his friend. Wakefield let out a long sigh and picked up his paper to continue to read. He had given up on the conversation.
Just then the door of the diner jingled and in walked a pair of lovely girls, dressed in red and brown dresses with matching wedged heels and laced gloves. Charles instantly straightened up and put out his cigarette. The girls approached their table and Wakefield opening groaned.
The lady in red marched straight up to Charles as the two rose to their feet.
"Charlie! Oh Charlie, what a state I am in!" Her shrill voice emphasized the dramatics in her statement. Charles looked immensely concerned.
"What is the matter, Nancy darling," he asked.
"Well Charlene and I were across the street and we noticed you two through the window of the diner. But I told my dear friend that you would never go to breakfast without me when you promised you would invite me next time. I mean, really, tell me it isn’t true?" Nancy’s question was laced with rejection as she emphasized every ‘you.’
"And I told her, I really did not care whether you had or not. For I was hungry and in need of coffee," Charlene said, looking both annoyed and apologetic.
"Oh, Charlene, is such a grumpy cat in the morning!" Nancy laughed, grabbing Charles arm as she laughed. Wakefield rolled his eyes and then caught Charlene looking at him. She smirked as if sharing his annoyance. Wakefield cleared his throat.
"Well why don’t you ladies join us," he asked, hoping that the answer would be no.
"Nonsense! I can’t have then eat here, Wakefield," Charles said as he dug for his wallet. "Listen chap, I’ll meet you at corporate, but first I have to take these fine ladies to the new place down the way. Much better food." Charles threw down some money on the table and then slapped Wakefield on the back. He then offered Nancy his arm and the two went talking out the door. Charlene momentary looked confused and then smiling apologetically to Wakefield, followed them out.
Wakefield shook his head, sat down, took a long sip of his coffee, and then reopened the paper. But only a sentence into his article he huffed openly and shook his head.
"If ever there was a man called irony," he said to the smoky air and the question that had been left unanswered.
How can I be friends
With a twenty dollar bill?
I spend my nights looking at the face of America in your words
Cut-throats and mongrels
A political jest heats the air
And I escape it through the holes in our ceiling
Which is no painting Michelangelo could ever master.
I see the beginnings of greatness
In this, God’s masterpiece.
We, prisoners in our chains of commerce, can not speculate on a wealth there
Where no price can pay for the meaning
And no friend can be made with the coin
Dance with me
Attempt the waltz
Or fly around the floor
As unfettered as the paper
A waggish wind did snatch
Make the wild faces
The inexplicable doings
Move like stomping elephants
Or slip like startled deer
But don’t forget beside you
Your fellow imagineer
You will find it hard pressed
To seek me anywhere but here.
Staring in the dark
There’s no light for the unrested
But movement led me to this rock,
This corner of the earth
I sit and see the dusky horizon
Dust on the edge of life
But firmly sits the stone beneath me
And I, suddenly unmoved
i had a thousand goodbyes.
Not one was sufficient
For every long last gaze
fills that void between us
If I were a constant
A drifter’s dream
What would be the shape of me
For there I also had a thousand hellos.
In new fields I tread
And in every beginning an end
But an end is just a beginning.