There, at the center of the table, would be a bowl of fruit – apples, two red, two yellow, and four pears. The pears would be bruised, unappealing yet juicy and ripe. There would be grapes in a separate bowl. They would be dark and deep purple. There would be books piled on top of one another clumsily – L’Amant, Les Choses, Un homme qui dort. They would appear as though they were to lose balance and spill, collapse. Under them would be newspapers, some old, some new, but most unknown. A tall glass used to hold several pens – gel ones, and ballpoint ones, some black, some blue, and red. A pair of scissors and a letter opener. Next to that there would be what was once a pile of letters. They would now be scattered and take up most of the room on the table. There would be extravagant place mats. Whose patterns would only be visible here and there beneath the sheets of papers and opened envelopes and bowls and books. There would be fancy rustic napkin holders that would cradle cheap flimsy napkins and there would be so many that they’d be spilling out from the sides. There would be two small teacups that would create a perpendicular angle to the teapot. In between the cups there would be a saucers with milk, honey, and cubed brown sugar. There would be chocolate and éclairs and croissants and raspberry tarts – all in separate plates. The plates wouldn’t match – no two would be identical in design or size. There would be butter and jam and cream cheese and nutella. There would be room for improvisation. At the end of the table there would be an exotic bottle of Ukrainian honey pepper flavored vodka. It would seem out of place. There would be an overhead light and a clock on the wall. The room would be hot. There would be silence. Except for the exchange of glances no words would need to be said.
You would sit at the table as if it were your own. Your eyes would scan it, hesitate, and then reprieve. You would eat a grape- it would be hard, sweet at first but then sour and dry. You would notice it is seedless. And then you would try to read the slanted names of the books piled on top of each other – L’Amant, Les Choses, Un homme qui dort. The corners of your eyes would gather from effort. You would be amazed by their impeccable condition. You would want to ask to borrow one, L’Amant in particular, but then decide that you probably wouldn’t be up to reading much anyway. Your eyes would scan the clusters of letters. You would try to read the addresses on them. You would discover letters from banks, law offices, market researchers, telephone companies, and then you would find that there would be too many to acknowledge and there’d be no use in trying to find any illegitimate ones. You would exhale. Your eyes would discover a little piece of a place mat. You would concentrate on it and try to decipher the entire picture on the mat. Your eyes would be serious. To your dismay, it would be hard and the clues you’d be given wouldn’t be enough for you to put the whole picture together. You will be frustrated and your brows would sweat. Its drops would flavor your tea. Your eyes would dart over all the delicacies being served. You would feel insatiable. You’d think it was heaven but there would be so much to choose from you wouldn’t want to make the wrong decision and so you wouldn’t touch anything. You would stare at the sealed bottle of Ukrainian honey pepper flavored vodka and you would wonder why it looked so adorned. Due to its extravagant appearance you would assume it had flavorful contents and it would spark your interest to set your mind on trying some. Your eyes would rest on it for quite some time. The likelihood of it inflating your insides would only leave you craving for it more. You would be disappointed to know it’s only for special occasion. You would again glance over the treats spread on the table. You would finally want to try some chocolates. But still you would hesitate because you’d feel they wouldn’t be enough. You would look at the clock and then work your way up. Your eyes would follow the dark spinning shadows on the ceiling. You would want to make a comment about the heat.
I would not be able to look away. I would try to make you comfortable, seemingly without making it obvious that I was solely unprepared. I would try to distract you from the disorder of my life. I would pray and I would tune out because concentrating on your face would be too nerve wrecking. I would offer you the sweetest things. I would wait for your appeasement but it would be absent and I would curse myself for having thought you could have been swooned. I would count the grapes in the bowl in front of me, there would be eleven and I would wonder if you hated me for having the ugliest ever grown. I would watch you. I wouldn’t be able to stop. I would adore you. Your symmetrical face accented by the harsh overhead lighting, as it would form shadows of your eyelashes that projected onto the bottom of your eyes and you looked like a girl whose mascara was running from crying too hard. Your worn hands as the middle finger on the right hand gently played back and forth against the inner thumb. The way your hair would intimately frame the stark features of your flawless head. The way the harsh light would lend you a momentary halo. Your eyebrows would be a pair of fuzzy caterpillars resting briefly on your face and the stoic lines of your forehead would offer no indication of where you were from, where you have been, or where you were going. I would ponder about whether or not you were contemplating our future, our past, or nothing about us at all. I would catch you looking at me and I would feel ravished. I would adore you. I would wonder why you wouldn’t have anything to say to me. Why the fan wouldn’t make the room any cooler. I would begin to find a thousand things that were wrong with you. How your tiny mouth would appear as though it were being eaten by the enormity of your face and your tiny wandering eyes that were too quick to catch. Their vastness would offer no suggestions. The flawless ease of your motions would make my bones ache and I wouldn’t be able to decipher whether it was for you or for the lack of you. I would loathe you. I would give in and explode. I would grab the plates and the books and the papers and force them off the table. I would plunge them at you. I would purge at the look of scorn on your beautiful face. I would close my eyes and I would tell myself that you did not exist. That you could not have existed. Because why would I want you to?