Little Running Water

It is closing time – the music has been turned off. One of the girls has been sick and does not look any happier today. I sit at a table in silence and consider my options, which are few and far between. Today, a fortune cookie in a suburban fast-food diner told me to have patience. Afterwards, I went to work and watched two of my students struggle with subject verb agreement. One asked me to help him get into Stanford. The best I could tell him was not to lie, to not make himself look worldly by saying he reads The New York Times and The LA Times, and also enjoys catching up with the BBC World Service. The BBC World Service, in particular, seems to give off an air of pretentiousness that only the “also enjoy catching up with” phrase is able to match.

I go home. I feel like a fraud. I call eight of my old friends and only two answer or call back. One wants to apologize for lying to my ex girlfriend about why I broke up with her. Two years later, and she has yet to forgive me for his lie. Another tells me he’s dating a girl eleven years his junior. I instinctively ask if she’s one of his students, but I know I am out of bounds immediately. He’s heard that question dozens of times and she’s about to meet his parents in Memphis. I hang up.

We mention fate again, just to hear the way it rolls off the tongue. I don’t really know what fate means, but if it means what X told me while I was crying at a bus stop in June, that if you only have three true loves in a lifetime, and you might have to wait a while, then patience is the key to everything. Patience and quick thinking and a way with words.

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