Coffee

Airport coffee. Was there ever a more perverted version of an old world delicacy? How can this substance that they serve in dingy restaurants and so called coffee shops eer be copmpared to the original turkish tradition. ...3 hours since my life ended...

I drink in silence. Hot tar melting down my throat. Burning. The pain is comforting. Reminds me I am still able to feel. I light another cigarette from the smouldering remains lying in the filthy ashtray. You always did hate my cigarettes. Not the smoking, ou smoked your self, but the cigrettes themselve. Said they were too stereotypicaly linked with men. Images of cowboys taking a five minute reak before riding off in to the sunset.. . A gling catches my eye. The woman sitting at the next table lights her companions cigar with a narrow gold lighter. It reminds me of you. Reminds me of us. You never would let me light your cigarettes for you. You insisted that it made me appear subservient, and you helpless,unable to light your own. I remember the fist time we met, I tried to buy you a drink. Where was it, New York...

...I always hated press parties. Too many people. Too many lies in one often small, always crouded room. Heavy smoke and random gossig mixing in the air above us. Lisa pull on my arm.Alex, she says, isn't that - Yes, Lisa, it is. Why don't you go ove rand introduce your self. She runs off. Dumb blonde. I don't even know why I brought her. Just for the looks I guess. And the sex afterwards is always good.

I get another scotch, look around the room. New faces. Old stories. Nothing ever changes. I down the scotch, turn to order another and then I see you. I can still picture the way you looked that first night - you were wearing the emerald coctail dress that looked as if it had been painted on at birth. The colour matched your eyes. They were that dangerous shade that seems to say - stay away from me, I'm angry. Your hair was up, one lock spilling in a flaming cascade of copper and gold down a flawless bare shoulder. I wanted to kiss you. I wanted to take you in to my arms and never let you go. I wanted to buy you a drink.

Late in bed that night, you light your own cigarette, with a narrow gold lighter. I use a match. What did you say to your date, I ask. Told him I'd run in to an old friend. Your laught is like the rest of you, it's fire. Warming, soothig and at the same time only barely controlled, threatening to at any moment brake free and vanquish all in it's path. What did you say to... I can see you grasping for a name to place with the face. Told her to find another ride home. Again that laugh. I have to catch a flight to Washington in 4 hours, you say. Well, that gives us at least three hours before I have to put you in a cab...

...4 hours since my life ended...


...The woman at the next table me looking at her. She has that mixed expression on her face that women often do when they aren't sure weather to be pleased or angry. I turn my head before she can make up her mind. Slender gold lighter. Sex in my tiny hotel room. The emerald dress lying in a small pool at the foot of the bed. You'd come to Toronto to see me the following week. We spent the first three days locked in my apartment. The phone off the hook and evey restaurant in the area with my address on their record. Burgers for me. Salds for you. Vegetables you used to say. They are the reason I'll still live for another 20 years after you rot in your shallow grave. That's what I loved about you, one of the many things I love about you - cool and cultured one minute, you were randier than a $5 whore on the courner of Jarvis the next. And all the while those eyes those eyes would give you away. I remember you tried fooling me at first, saying that they changed colour in the light, even then I would not believe you. Not since that first time I looked down at your face, flushed and beautiful and your open eyes were the colour of grass on the fist day of spring. That's something I remembered. You would never close your eyes. In the middle of a kiss could open mine and see you looking at me, smiling that wicked, knowing smile. The only time I would see them closed was when you were sleeping. I'd sit there for hours leaning against my window, smoking one cigarette after another, just watching you sleep. And then you would wake up, and open your eyes, as if you were awake all the while and strech your arms out to me...

...4 hours 30 minutes since my life ended...


...I watched the plane take off. Saw it fly into the clouds. I'd always hated planes and airports. Not a bright hatred for someone forced to travel as often as me. I would fly out to L.A. to see you every week. My frequent flyer points added up. I was going to surprise you with a trip to Hawaii. The tickes are still in my breast pocket. I should cash them in. Maybe I'll buy myself a cat. One just like yours. Fat and lazy. Are cats born that way. Fat and lazy. Domestic. Or do they just grow in to it. I remember the first time I walked in to your apartment it hissed at me. I threw my hat at it. You laughed. Said it was the first time Cleopatra had anyone meet her on her own ground. Then you picked up my hat. There were thin white hairs on the black felt. Images of you wearing my shirt and hat, and nothing else, greeting me at the door. Suprsise you'd say. I caught an early flight Yeah, I'd say, three days early. They had an extra seat, you reply. Then we wouldn't talk for a while...

...5 hours since my life ended...

...When was the last time we talked? 4 no 5 days ago. It was in bed, as I recall, leaning against the pillows. You smoking those funny long cigarettes, lighting them with an elegant gold lighter. I love you I said. I remember you didn't say anything then, just kissed me softly. I want to be with you, I said. We're not kids anymore, this weekend busines is killing me, I say. Move down to Toronto, or let me come to L.A. to be with you. No, you say. Lets just do this for a while longer, besides, I've a got a case backlog to take care of, even if you came to L.A. I couldn't be with you. And then there's the move... Lets just wait for a while. It's only been three months. Lets just wait... Then you ask me about my next assingment. It was out of the country, they wanted me to do a shoot if Iran. Something to fall in with the uprising feminist movement. Photos of villages. Women and children. Gettin their side of the story. You liked that, I remember. I'm not taking it I say. It will take nearly two months to do the shoot to my satisfaction. I can't bear to be away from you for that long I say. Don't worry, you laugh. You'll get bored of me in to time flat yet! Pass me the ashtray, will you lover?.. 3 days later, I walk in you're packing. We'd had a fight the night before. I walked out. Spent the night going from bar to bar. Then I spent the early morning hours talking to a bum who wold tell me sthe secrets of reality for a cup of coffee. I bought him breakfast. We spoke for 5 hours. I took down his name. Maybe I'll do a story on him. Maybe... Where are you going, I say. I got a call from the office, I have to return you reply, an important client needs me there. I need you here. I wisper it. Don't know if you heard me or not. Besides you say, we need some time apart. I need to do some thinking. You're not coming back are you. It's not a question. It's a statement. I reach in to my pocket for a cigarette, remember that I'm out. I was going to buy some. I'd forgotten. You don't say anything. What's his name, I ask. We never lied to each other. Tod you say, he's a corporate attourney, we met over a case several months ago. I've been seeing him for the past couple of weeks, just as friends. Did you sleep with him, I ask, with the interest of one asking the score of a ball game. I leave my self nothing. Not even the slightest shread of hope. Yes, you say. Two days ago. One day after I told you I loved you. I don't say that. I don't want to give you the excuse of guilt. I'll send for my things, I say, I'll have a courier pick them up. I'll be in Toronto in three weeks, you say, I could... You let it drop in to silence. You know better. We could never be friends. I booked a hotel room, you say, my flight is tomorrow. You can stay here. I say, I'll be working all night as it is. I have to prepare for my Iran assingment. When did you agree to take it, you ask. Ten minutes from now, after I buy some cigarettes. I help you pack. Then I open the bottle of champagne as I always do before you leave. To celebrate the anticipation of our reunion, you used to say. What are we celebrating now? We discuss politics, the weather, sports. We talk about a book that we'd both read. We don't talk about us.

I fall asleep on the couch, buried under stacks of newsapers, like an old bum on a park bench. When I wake up I can hear the shower running. I pretend for a moment that it was all a drunken nightmare, then I see your bags sitting by the door.

We don't talk in the taxi ride there. By silent agreement we decided that I would take you to the airport. You always did hate them more than I did...

...boarding platform. We shake hands. We don't hug. We don't kiss. You don't cry. Goodbye I say. Good luck in Iran, you reply. Good luck with Tim. It's Tod.. you mutter. The stewardess warns that the flight is about to leave. You look as if you are about to say something else, but change your mind. Insteadd you say goodbye. I don't say anything. You pick up your carry on and gracefully make your way down the boarding platform. I stand and watch for a few minutes, then I turn and walk back to the airport lobby...

...6 hours ago my life took a plane to L.A. to meet a young lawyer by the name of Tim.. No Tod. 6 hours ago my life ended. I stub out the cigarette in the now overflowing tray. The black pitch at the botoom of my cup has cooled and solidified. The waitress comes around to offe me some more. "More coffee sir -" I turn to face her."er. Mam. Oh, I'm terribly sorry, it's the hat you see, and your hair is cut so short..." the girl mumbles. She must be new. I smile and decline her offer. Pay the bill leaving a generous tip. One of the perks of an expence account, I can afford to be generous. I walk out of the restaurant...

...6 hours 10 minuts ago my life ended...

... Two kids walk past me, hand in hand, he is carrying a large bag. They are obviously in love. She lifts her left hand and a small stone catches the light. I walk up to them. Newlyweds I say. They nod happily. Married last night, she shares, like a treasured secret. A pearl of happiness found in an oyster. Off to you honeymoon, I ask. No he says, wer're seeing my inlaws off. They live in Brooklin, she says. We're students, we can't afford a honeymoon and pay for next semester. She looks up at him. Her eyes are shining. She is in love and dosn't care where the honeymoon is. So what are you doing now? I ask. Well, he says, we have a week off, that's why we got married now. We'll propably go to Niagara for a few days...

...6 hours 30 minutes ago my life ended...

... I reach in to my jacket for a cigarette. My hand brushes the envelope still in my breast pocket. Here I say, take these. I give them the two first class tickets to Hawaii. He stares in disbelief. We can't take these. Thank you, but... No I say, don't argue. I can't use them and I can't return them, they'd just go to waste. I give him a card with a hotel name and the name of the manager. I scroll my name across the back and a room number. Give this to the Manager. I say to her, tell him it's a wedding gift form me. The honeymoon sweet I think to my self. I was going to ask her to marry me... They attempt to thank me, but I wave my hand and walk away.. One of the perks of an expence account...

...6 hours 45 minutes ago my life took a plane to L.A....

...Outside there is a bum begging for change. I reach in to my pockt to look for some dimes and quarters and notice his face. Harry, I say, remember me? You told me the secrets of reality at 4:30 in the morning. He looks at me through bleary eyes. So I did, he mutters, it's all lies anyway. There is no secret of reality. The universe is a lie...

...7 hours ago my life ended...

...Come on Harry, I say, I'll buy you a coffee.

the end