What lurks in the shadows of his mind?

He sat across from me. The restaurant was very crowded, very noisy. Talking wasn’t possible, not really. But Peter kept trying to converse. I reminded him we seldom talk across our own dinner table, so it doesn’t matter if we don’t talk when we’re out.

“But, it’s different,” he said, “when we’re somewhere else.”

“I can’t hear a word you’re saying anyway,” I reminded him.

He nodded and sat back. He studied a spot on the wall behind my head. I watched his face. The V-shaped creases between his brows deepened, his left eye twitched, he shook his head slightly. He was far away.

“What are you thinking about?” I asked.

He shook his head again. “I’m trying to remember what it was like when I first came here.”

“To America?”

“Yes. Things have changed, but I can’t remember…”

“But that was in 1968! Nearly fifty years ago.”

He nodded.

“I’m going to have to learn to read your mind,” I said.

His eyes brightened. He smiled. “Well, if you do, tell me what you find in there.”

His remark was so apt we broke into laughter. The people at the next table must have wondered what was so funny. If they only knew.

Header photo: Peter, tube station near V&A Museum, London, 2009

2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist. 


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