Mimi and Jimmy left this morning, with Teddy, to take Jimmy back to Virginia. I find the gray skies to be fitting.
PROMPT: “You accidentally overhear a conversation between two people you’ve never met. The topic of the conversation shocks and dismays you. Write about these conversations and describe how you respond to the content:
■1. A conversation between two stockbrokers
■2. A conversation between a priest and a member of his parish
■3. A conversation between a woman and the man with whom she’s been cheating on her husband
PIECE (#3): I was taking the train home from the city after visiting with a friend. We had strolled along Manhattan’s Upper East Side like we actually lived there, dreaming and scheming about ways to fabulously grow up without losing our juvenile tendencies to laugh loudly in a crowded room, to be unashamed about pretty much anything and to dream big even when the results had the potential of being disastrous. I was staring out the window in the darkness of the night, squinting and trying to discern solid figures and shapes among the shadows. It was difficult and as a result, I was becoming bored. A voice in the seat behind me grabbed my attention.
“It’s not that I don’t love you, Joe – you know that I do.” It was clearly a woman’s voice and she sounded tired, as if this conversation had been going on for months without a foreseeable end. “It’s just that Sean offers me security and he provides for me. Besides, he’s never been anything but sweet to me and I gave him my hand in marriage. This has to stop.”
My mouth dropped. Adultery? Scandal? I sat up a little straighter, like the change in posture would help me to hear better. “But do you love him? Do you love him the way you love me?” Joe asked. There was a strain in his voice, as if Joe knew this could be the end of everything and he was running out of ingenious ways to prevent it.
The woman sighed. “It’s different with Sean. I’ve been trying to explain –“
“You don’t love him the way you love me, and there’s no way he can love you like the way I do!” Joe exploded. “I could keep you safe, I could provide for you! I could also make you happier than you’ve ever been. Haven’t you been deliriously happy these past few months? I know I have.”
“I have been happy, Joe. But it’s not practical.”
“Since when does practicality have anything to do with love?”
The woman’s voice softened, as if she were gently smiling. “That’s the artist in you, Joe. Not everyone can live as carelessly you as do. There have to be some responsible people in the world.”
“I’m not talking about responsibility!” Joe roared. “Don’t treat me like a child! I am talking about love and how if you want to be with me, then you should be with me. Leave Sean; you haven’t really been with him since we met.”
There was a pregnant pause. I was breathless waiting for her response, but not as tortured by it as Joe.
“It’s just not practical,” was all she said.