his disadvantage (originally titled “her disadvantage”)
Wally leaned across the table, pushing the breadsticks aside, and tried to explain. “I believe old lovers are like unobserved particles … they exist everywhere simultaneously.”
Molly reached for a breadstick. Not only was she hungry but she sensed that this explanation was going to take awhile. While she adored Wally his explanations often made her forget what he was trying to explain.
“What I mean by that is…” he continued, “you imagine them traveling and seeing the world and having an exciting job and a string of whirlwind love affairs. You also see them as homeless and broke and lonely.”
Molly seemed to perk up for a second. “Like that cat you told me about? Schroeder’s cat?” she inquired.
“You mean Schrödinger’s cat?” he corrected her. “Schroeder was the piano-playing friend of Charlie Brown.”
“No. Well… maybe. If you’re wondering if they are alive or dead.” He clearly didn’t anticipate this diversion in his explanation and Molly could clearly hear the train sliding noisily off the tracks. This pleased her a great deal. She tried to hide this fact.
She took a large bite of breadstick.
I should tell you at this juncture that Wally and Molly were old lovers who had not seen each other in a very long time. Ok, back to the action.
“Old lovers, like particles, live out every possible future. When we think of them we can imagine any scenario we want and there exists the possibility that this is their life.” Wally leaned back in his chair as if he’d said something that explained why he’d called her after all these years.
Obviously when I mentioned getting back “to the action” I might have been overstating it.
“So you wanted to see which reality I ended up living out” she finally said.
“Once observed the particle is forced to choose one path” he replied.
“So what you’re really saying is that you’re too chicken shit to admit you’ve been wondering about me. Trying to cloak it in scientific mumbo jumbo to avoid coming out and just asking me.” Molly said this seemingly without anger, delivering it completely bereft of malice.
Sensing she missed out on the opportunity for a bit of malice she added “In fact, all you’ve done by observing me is taken away the chance that I might be wealthy and living on an island paradise with a brigade of well-built men at my beck and call.”
She sat back and awaited an apology.
Wally laughed nervously and reached for the breadsticks. Luckily moments later a waitress approached them and asked them for their order, thus ending the assault on the breadsticks.
Finally he spoke again. “Is there a special man in your life?”
She smiled in a way that turned everything below his waist into both particles and waves simultaneously.
“Look at the evidence sitting before you Wally. Would I be wearing a short skirt if I was in a relationship?”
“I don’t suppose you would. I’m guessing you’d go with a tasteful pair of jeans” he said.
Looking back at the story so far I think the entire thing would collapse without the breadsticks. When I began it I never thought they’d play such an important role. Perhaps I should have described them in more detail. Were there sesame seeds involved? Maybe I should have at the very least referred to them as grissini instead of breadsticks.
How would the story have changed if I made them baguettes instead?
The one thing I won’t do is lower myself, and my story, to making them olisbokollix, an Ancient Greek term where kollix refers to bread and olisbos refers to a dildo. Two old lovers sitting in a restaurant eating bread dildos precludes the possibility of any subtle sentimentality escaping from the story.
Read the word ‘dildo’ and all romance comes to a crashing halt.
Forget I mentioned it.
Some things can’t be forgotten?
I disagree and I offer as proof the fact that Wally and Molly had a wonderful meal and made plans to see each other again.
Sort of ironic that the term cynicism comes from the Greek word κυνισμός, originally meaning a school of thought where people gain happiness by living in a simple way, rejecting all conventional desires like wealth, sex and fame. Of course now it means something totally different.
Wally originally called her because he kept recalling the most intimate feelings towards her with astounding clarity.
Molly accepted because she missed him the same way a small craft is tossed during high seas, her trembling hand on the rudder providing the only comfort she’d permit herself to have.
I believe that stories involving old lovers are like unobserved particles … they end everywhere simultaneously.
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