Paul, Paul, Paul,
Paul, Paul — Paul
Paul Paul Paul.
Paul Paul Paul Paul — PaulPaulPaulPaul.
Paul sat and waited and watched
the door of the diner. Paul drummed his fingers on the wooden table’s polished
surface. Paul added creamer and stirred his coffee and watched the brown
swirling liquid turn tan. Paul crossed and uncrossed and recrossed his legs and
wiggled his penny loafers to the sixteenth note frenzy of a recorded jazz
trumpet. Paul liked how the leather shoe tassel clicked as he shook it but did
not like how the sound never came at the same time his foot shook, always
arriving just before or just after. Paul stirred and watched. Paul tapped and
listened. Paul waited and thought. Paul stared at his watch and frowned and could
not believe how long Edward was taking. Paul ____ed and ____ed and ____ed and
decided that he was getting tired of doing different things in various
combinations to pass the time while waiting for Edward.
Paul would not be consoled by the pep and cheer of his
teenage waitress. Paul noted her smile — how it remained on the girl’s face
even as she spoke quickly — and her ponytail — how it whipped as the waitress
turned from one customer to another — and thought of her as a human blur. Paul
felt himself become walled in by her questions as he sat and stirred coffee and
waited for Edward.
“How are you doin today, hon?”
“Some weather we’re having, huh?”
“Want some more coffee?”
“Can I interest you in our
“You ready to order?”
you like to start with an appetizer?”
“The soups we offer
today are lobster bisque, New England clam chowder, and chicken noodle.
“Ohhh, OK. That’s
good . . . I was worried there for a second. Heh. I’ll go get you more coffee.”
Paul tried to keep his eyes to his drink and his menu, but
he could not. Paul marveled at the waitress’s fluid motion and her refusal to
do one thing and then another but instead doing everything at once in a single
movement without beginning or end. Paul felt alienated by this aproned ball of
kinetic energy but also felt attracted to its pull.
Paul remembered that where there is an electric field there
is also a magnetic field.
Paul drank and tapped and drank and waited for three quarters
of an hour but did not eat, and Edward did not come. Paul decided after some
time that he did not mind and at the same moment realized his lunch with Edward
was not scheduled for that day but in fact the following Wednesday.