I've been working on this one for weeks. I think I finally got my anger in check long enough to finish it.
Lessons Learned in a Small Town
Tell no one about your life. They will not keep
your secrets. News travels at the speed of light
and did. My telephone rings. I recognize the
name, and answer, think it has something to do
with the job. But no. It’s that man, one whose
face I recognize in younger folks who do not
bear his name. Small town Lothario, newly
divorced, thinks I’ll jump at the chance to ride
in his Mercedes. Interviewed him for the paper
years ago, when I was young, slim, pretty. Still
remember the reptilian hand on the small
of my back as he escorted me from his office.
An offer and I decline. Sharp intake of breath, his
disbelief wends its way through fiber optic cables
to my ears. He must have thought I'd be like
Lila Wingo in The Prince of Tides. Thinks he’s
funny. Says he knows the color of turkey meat
I enjoy at Thanksgiving. Secret’s out. Now honey,
he says, don’t take offense. I take offense but
say nothing. Dead silence so I press a button,
end the call. My disinterest wounds him. My
preference astounds him. He is likewise offended.
Twenty years ago, I would have watched my back
but he is powerless now. He doesn’t even know
that he’s the butt of jokes despite his assets,
a regular at the dead pecker benches by the bank
contemplating a wasted life in the afternoon sun.
© MCM 2018