Although awkward to start, the talk had flowed like fresh water poured from a bottle. It built with leisure until dynamic. Interest, interaction and reaction.
Things like “Have you heard?” or “Did you see?” or “What about?” So much to recover from small things that often get lost. A verbal game of tennis. A rally. Pause. Wait for serve. An amplified call for an order. Two roasts of the day. The umpire calling score.
“Why did it happen?” She asked. An ace served. He swung an open racket.
“I can’t say.”
It was too late. They ate. He swigged on his beer. She sipped her lemon, lime and bitters. The clank of cutlery was louder now. Like the syncopated clink and chink of a road-gang. Somewhere. Distant. Knives and forks, breaking moments as steel hammers shatter rocks.
He tried, but the conversation slipped. Each word fell midway through its arc and dropped to the plates. Projection had abandoned its post. The waiter cleared the table and walked with purpose towards the kitchen. He scraped pearlescent china. The talk slid down the side of the stainless steel sink. It spiralled around the lip of the drain, babbled, then gurgled away.
© Anthony Wood 2011