Cadaverish – just-dead – temperatures. A porch, in the sense that California homes have porches, which is to say wood slats and a balcony. Sunset approaches. A woman lingers by the shore, talking to herself, the way women do. Two mosquitos join me.
The phone vibrates – nothing rings anymore – and I stagger to the table. A voice, twenty years distant, shrouded in depressing tones of loss and nostalgia, speaks.
Yea, lunch. Ok.
My generation overflows into decade five, the Doors and Zeppelin concert T-shirts finally succumbing to worsted wool and the vague sense that we’ll be needing a healthy dose of something medicinal. Phone calls like this suggest imminent death, or curiosity, or some unknown debt or regret that someone has held on to for a score and now needs to settle. Thus, the anxiety.
A person doesn’t prepare for lunches like this so much as dread them. Reliving the events of the past, searching for some reason for a rendezvous with history, can cause some like serious angst. Does this convey a sense of inner guilt, a complex life woven whilst trying to avoid the frayed thread of remorseful remembrance?
I enter the restaurant, scanning the room for a recognizable face. Cracked paint and old leather frown back at me. Then, between crescent lips, teeth appear, a Cheshire grin suggesting something sinister.
Hello, old friend, we need to talk.
Roget doesn’t have enough synonyms for trepidation.