“Charles, don’t worry about it?” She paused. “A lot of men, deal with this situation.”
He rolled over and lay on his back, silent and motionless.
She applied kisses to his chest and shoulders, that were once Atlas-like and skin that was once smooth and tight in youth. “I’m happy just laying here next to you.” No matter her words, he felt his failings, his inadequacies. Feelings he hadn’t encountered enough to properly process and compartmentalize in order to move on. “Let’s get dressed and go get some coffee.” She said, her face beaming and lit.
Awww, don’t worry about it pal. He briefly fell into the solitary company of his thoughts. She’s right it happens to the best of them. And you ain’t even one of the best. She can attest to that, just-.
“Well, what do you say, Charles?” Her voice, so soft and reassuring pulled his attention back.
“Sure. Sounds like a good idea. Let’s go.” He said, in response.
He walked into the bathroom, while she ordered. “I need two tall mistos – a butter croissant and a turkey bacon breakfast sandwich.”
While she waited to pick up her order, a young man standing next to her, in a nautical shirt and jeans, made small talk. They’d caught one another’s eyes as they searched for places to wait on their respective orders. “This is gonna be a great day, with a start like this. Hardly anyone in line this morning, ” he said.
She nodded in agreement. “Thank you for paying for my order. I passed it forward as well… To keep the chain of goodwill going.”
“You’re welcome,” he replied as they exchanged smiles.
Charles exited the bathroom in time to witness their interaction. A harmless exchange with damaging effects on his ego and self-worth. His devilish insecurities played on his fears. Sitting squat on his shoulder, they whispered in his ear. She’s gonna leave you in the end anyway. Look at you. She’d be better off with a younger guy. C’mon, you’re more of a Joe Sausagehead than I thought, if you think she’s gonna hang around with you. She’s gonna leave you, ole boy. Just you wait and see. He walked over to Janelle.
“There you are Charles! I was beginning to wonder if I would have to drink and eat all of this myself.” She said with a playful smile. He nodded in acknowledgement and offered a broken smile, in return. She’s gonna leave you ole boy.
“Mr. Jordan? Oh, Mr. Jordan? Can I trouble you for a moment?” Charles slowed his stride as a rather rotund, man moved to intercept his path. “What a pleasure to make your acquaintance. What if I told you I could help with your particular circumstances. Would you be game?”
“What are you talking about?” Charles snapped back.
“Where are my manners? Allow me to introduce myself. I am Mr. Gene E. My last name is a very difficult one to pronounce so I’ve taken to going simply by the letter E.” He reminded Charles of Mr. French with his derby, finely manicured beard, and a dark gray, vested suit.
Charles shook his hand. “Hey listen. I don’t know what your game is pal, but I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Forgive me for the intrusion, but I saw you and your companion parting ways, about a half a block back.” He nodded in the direction Charles had just come from. “I’m a student of body language and circumstance.” He reached into his pocket and groped around for a card. “I just happened to catch you linger for a few moments after parting, with an expression of what appeared to be longing, at least to my experienced eye.” He gestured with his hand. “I specialize in helping people with their deepest wishes. I can help you with yours.”
Looking off, Mr. E, with equal parts incredulity and denial, Charles resumed his stride. “Whoa, whoa! Wait. I really can help you!” Exclaimed Mr. E.
“Okay, I’ll bite. Let’s say you read me right. What can you do for me, buddy?”
“All you need do is speak your wish and tonight it will be granted.”
“All I need to do is tell you my wish and it’ll come true? Listen pal – ”
“That’s correct, sir.”
“This is the funniest thing I’ve heard all day, all week.” Charles’ laughter never broke the smile on Mr. E’s face. “You know, I’ve gotta get going, so here. I wish… I wish I was young again. Yeah, I wish I was young again, so I was able to enjoy my strength and virility again. Make that happen.”
“Your wish is my command,” said Mr. E.
by Malakhai Jones
(C) Copyright 2016