Flash Fiction: An Oblique Conversation by LJ Frank

Source: New Street Wine Shop near Liverpool Street

London.

To begin it may be worth remembering the words of the novelist and poet, Rainer Maria Rilke who once noted, “A person isn’t who they are during the last conversation you had with them…,” that conversation is just one aspect of a reality of the total person. 

That said, I must note that initially our meeting seemed intriguing enough upon hearing peripherals of the story though the exact details were cloaked. For reasons embedded in our respective minds the two of us came together to discuss events that had taken place since we met last, exactly one  year earlier to the day at the same wine shop.

The customers were a small mingling of financiers, businessmen, lawyers and others with one thing that seemed common to every person that entered the establishment. That is, their lives were complicated.

The customers sat there on any given day or night sipping wine while engaged in the textures of culture, rumors of war, the dalliances of politicians and queries about the geographical juncture between globalism and nationalism and who decided the demarcations.

In any conversation it’s a wise tactic not to project on others one’s own limited knowledge. Those “things” that might be outside one’s experience and knowledge does not invalidate. The phrase “I’ve never heard of that before” really means very little upon examination except being an expression of a person’s limited knowledge and experience. Circumstance is  pivotal in our life. The acquisition of knowledge and experience is both purposeful and accidental.

My lawyer friend asked, “what do you think of OSOD?” her eyebrows rose in expectation.

“OSOD? On a local, national or International level?”

“You’re funny. it means Oral Service on Demand. I suppose you could apply it those categories.” She stated with a grin..

“Supportive. It would seem to be a matter of circumstance. Physical and emotional health I suppose.”

“Most things in life are circumstantial.” She smiled.

“The last time we spoke you were deeply in love and getting married.”

She looked up from her glass of wine. “I guess one never really knows for sure, does one?”

“What do you mean?”

“The marriage lasted four months.”

“Sorry.”

“He was in Mexico City and I was Philadelphia at the time. We were talking on the phone and something literally clicked and I never heard from him after that.”

“He hung up on you?”

“Or…I hung up on him. I forget. At first I thought it was a technical glitch of my smart phone….so easy to press the wrong key.”

“interesting.”

“Interesting is non-committal but you’re right. He never was good at cunnilingus, verbally or literally.”

“I see.”

“He had a forked tongue.”

“Metaphorically?”

“You could say that. Our thought processes were different.”

“The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard suggested we all wear disguises to allow for some degree of invisibility though underneath those cloaks of disguise we are all quite similar when it comes to wanting love in some shape or form.”

“Well, some of our shapes and forms are ill-fitting.”

“What now?”

“ARP.”

“Association of Retired Persons?”

“That’s AARP in America.  Try Attitude Restoration Process.”

“I’ve fallen behind on my acronyms.”

“So to speak?”

“You could say that.”

“I’m getting multi-hitched.”

“Oh?”

“Different men with different skill sets.”

“And your skill set?”

“ARP?”