Coffee and The Sea (part two)
As we waited for our meal, two older couples took residence at the table nearest us. Our idle talk soon faded into casual eavesdropping and our neighbors became the object of our latest interest. They spoke much heavier Spanish than the Peruvians, and with much more song to their voice. Spaniards? From the North, near France. Adorrans. Their vocabulary was strange- French mixed with Spanish.
Our observations led us on until our meal arrived and soon, two small, crumb-spotted plates sat in front of us, serving as the only reminders of the pizza we had otherwise eradicated. Fully aware of the satisfaction of a full stomach, he drew out another cigarette and sat back to think.
“I grew up a Catholic- Jesuit,” he paused to exhale the smoke. “Will you have another coffee?”
I had only just taken my final sip as he asked me, but I accepted his offer.
“It’s a lonely life. Solitude is the price for genius.”
Somehow his sureness, his confidence, prevented me from pitying him.
“Thinking is a job that is rejected by the majority. The masses collect friends, are frivolous with their money and spend their last resource to be in the company of others. So why have we met?”
I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. It seemed quite apparent to me that he needed to confirm his intellect in order to justify his lack of companionship. I let him continue.
“Are you sure you don’t want a cigarette?” He was more than generous with his offer, but it hardly seemed inviting. “Well then, I’ll have to finish them myself.” He grinned and sat back in his chair.
The summer’s cool ocean air was relaxing. I had no agenda, and I don’t believe that he did either. I couldn’t remember the last time I had just stopped to do nothing more than enjoy existence and reflect on the curiosities that it hid. There were secrets- the darkest, most formidable kinds of secrets- that haunted my life. Their presence was phantasmal- existing, but undefined and therefore somehow unreal.
“So what do you think of the Peruvian girls?”
“You aren’t here to talk about girls, so why are you here?”
He had asked the question several times now, so I supposed that I should either have to dismiss myself to my house for the evening, or face the pain of exposing my insecurities.