The Neurotic, Episode 2 – A Poem by Rowe Williams

I am eating a breakfast sandwich.
It is nearing five in the evening,
so it is inappropriately timed.
But I agreed to meet someone here
(at five, naturally),
and as I am in a café,
options are limited.

The sandwich is of adequate quality,
but nothing special. It cost between
five and six dollars, after tax.
I paid with six dollars, putting the change
and additional single
into tip jar. It occurs to me
I have paid seven dollars for this
sandwich, which I believe was
taken from freezer and inserted into oven
for a prescribed amount of time.
I hate this sandwich.

Some minutes after I finish
hate-eating my sandwich,
the man I am waiting for arrives.
I instinctively check my fly,
only to realize that I have responded
to his greeting by not-surreptitiously-enough
glancing at my crotch.
I greet him and pretend I have not done this.
He has the decency to pretend the same.

We exchange pleasantries
that can only be described as polite.
Eventually we get down to 'brass tacks.'
"So, let's get down to brass tacks."
I segue smoothly.
"Yeah, what did you want to talk about?"
He is receptive to my suggestion.
"I have a proposal I think you'll love."
"The only proposal I've ever loved was from my husband."
I discover the man is homosexual.
The glance at my crotch
seems ill-advised for new reasons.
"Let me tell it to you straight..."

We conclude our business talk
with some measure of success.
Neither of us moves to leave.
We are now trapped, having missed
a graceful, timely exit.
"So... you have a husband?"
I perfunctorily attempt to renew conversation.
"I do. It sounds like you disapprove?"
I realize mild annoyance
was not the right tone for that question.
"Oh, of course not! I am a big
proponent of gay rights.
I'm actually gay, myself."
Wait, why did I say that?
I am heterosexual.
I have been tricked.
Bamboozled.
"Well, my husband and I do enjoy...
company."
His voice is decidedly seductive.
I decide grace and timeliness are overrated.
"I uhh... Oh no, I'm late for... a thing."
I get up to go with alarmed suddenness.
I pretend the alarm is for the 'thing.'
I run for the exit.
I decide I can never see this man
or this café again.
I just miss the bus.
It's wheels are, indeed, going round and round.

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E-mail verifiablyhuman@gmail.com Hours ©2019 Rowe Williams
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