by LJ Frank
There are moments when moisture is preferred. She wanted our blind assignation in the rain on the Bridge. Its location was well-known by the city’s inhabitants. As an outsider I had heard it was best to be obvious and meet near one of the lamplights in the middle under the cloak of an evening mist or drizzle. Such a meeting always felt more genuine than the intrigues that occurred in the daylight hours, in places with names that implied equality, wisdom and truth while the scales of justice favored those with connections.
I knew from my East Coast experience, the whispering chortles from mouths beneath bulbous noses and flushed cheeks in the very early hours of a hotel lobby, particularly, in an area known as the Foggy Bottom. Considering disinformed foreign relationships she preferred the Bridge when seeking the depth of a human heart as many have noted in different languages, truth like a rose has prickly thorns about its stem.
I waited for her while contemplating the laborer’s hands that built the structure over the river with sincerity and deserving of enough money to put food and wine on the table, it was in the middle of a thought I saw a figure approach me covered in a long raincoat and wearing a broad rim hat with a mask over her mouth and nose.
She stopped several feet away. I noticed her eyes. They suggested both confidence and confidential. And in a soft Eastern European accent asked, “How was your flight?”
“Masked and lengthy.” I said.
“It was either the Alexander III Bridge or the Charles Bridge in Prague.”
“Here is good. You like bridges?”
“I was born in this exact location in the back seat of a taxi on the way to the hospital, my mother claimed.”
“Hmm. Reminds me of a woman I was engaged to…too many years ago.”
“Is there anything you’d like to share with me now that we have met?”
“After you initially contacted me and our subsequent communications, I thought this would help you. It’s strange.” I said, handing her the piece of paper.
Upon quickly skimming it, she paused. “Curious and fascinating. Thank you. May I ask?”
“How did you?”
“My soon to be ex-third wife works at the firm.”
“Well, I have had only three lovers from different cities to balance my previous three marriages.” Her eyes were filled with passion.
“Sounds logical. How long have you worked at that embassy?”
“Long enough. And, thank you again for this.”
“You’re welcome. It seemed harmless to me…and”
“And? I know. Shall we have a glass of wine? There’s a bistro not too far away. We can walk.”
I nodded. We found the place and as we sat down across from each other we ordered some wine and then removed our masks. It was then I realized who she was and uttered, “Oh my God!”
“Life’s crossroads and meanings can be fathomless.” She smiled.