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Lunch with Susan (standard:drama, 2573 words)
Author: Theo CarlsonAdded: Jan 10 2001Views/Reads: 2520/1509Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Sometimes the end of a relationship can make a man a little crazy…but what if he was insane to begin with?

Lunch with Susan By Theo Carlson 

"I should think you’d be more charitable during the last minutes of our
lives," I mused with genuine disappointment to Susan as she sat 
wide-eyed and shaking behind her chamomile tea. 

I bit back my rage and ran the fingers of both hands through my hair and
locked them together, as best as I could, at the back of my head. 
Ironically, I looked like a prisoner. I was collecting myself. My 
attempt to affect a calm, relaxed, demeanor had failed and the darkness 
retreated not at all. I could feel the violent malevolence prowling in 
my belly ready to tear and bite and revenge the thousand torturous cuts 
received over the last few hours. 

This morning I discovered that Susan had been having an extra-marital
affair for the past six months - with me. I played back every lie she 
ever had told me in a continuous loop. I tortured my soul with each 
prevarication until I was nearly senseless. I imagined tearing out my 
hair and gouging out my eyes. Mentally, I committed mass murder and 
suicide. My mind was an abyss of chaos and death. 

I smiled. 

I was curious as to his reaction. What did the other obtuse angle in
this triad think? 

I asked. 

"He doesn’t know," she stammered. "Or, he didn’t when I came here." 

He knew. By now, everybody did. 

I had joined her in the first booth by the door at the diner we’d been
having lunch in lately. She had ordered tea while she waited for me and 
was sipping daintily from the large blue cup as I sat down. I remember 
thinking how young and innocent she seemed. She looked like a child who 
wishes to be taken seriously but can’t because she is drinking from a 
cup as big as her head. This thought made tickled the corners of my 
mouth into a grin. She looked up at me and spoke: 

"I’m married," she said. No greeting, no we need to talk, she addressed
me as if I were a barfly instead of a lover. 

The sound I made must have sounded like a disinterested chuckle, my
appreciation of an amusing, if distasteful irony because she looked 
relieved and slightly smug. The sound I made was, instead, a barely 
audible grunt that usually precedes the lifting of a steamer trunk or 
follows a rabbit punch. I marveled at the tempest of emotions that 
followed from this small release of pressure which ranged from 
amusement to despair.  The most fitting one, though, was a combination 
of indignation and rage. 

Susan and I were the only patrons save for two old men; two grouchy,
complaining, loitering old men with far too much opinion and far too 
little sense having "Just Coffee" and sharing the newspaper. They 
commented when appropriate and when not appropriate on the news of the 
day. It was the same news as every day, poor people starving, women in 
fear of psychos and rapists on the street, politicos getting rich or 
getting caught. The opinions that they offered to no one in particular 
consisted of reading a sentence or a fragment or a word and pronouncing 

I turned my attention from the old men back to Susan. She looked so
small and fragile, this insidious serpent; her long slender fingers 
clasped the mug as though it were a shield. She struggled to speak, to 
qualify her actions. I wondered why this Judas, who had taken my life, 
who had called this cozy lunch meeting to inform my that my services 
were no longer needed, felt the need to explain at all. 

My whole body was tense. I set my jaw as if attempting to shatter my
teeth against each other. She continued to chatter, but I heard her now 
as a man underwater. I was busy editing and re-editing the endless loop 
so that I could begin to mentally flog myself with regret, loss and 

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