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Where the statue used to be

“So. You gonna tell me what happened?”

 

They were walking down a cobblestone street with narrow little sidewalks. There weren’t any people. Just a few shopkeepers staring out from their stands. It was about 3 o’clock and they had been walking around most of the day. 

 

 “Wait. We’re almost there. We’ll sit down and have a cold beer then I’ll tell you.”

 

This was his favorite restaurant. He could get pretty decent pizza there. They even had the Italian mineral water he liked.  They sat on the front patio. There were only four tables. Each one with four chairs. Not a big place.

 

A birdlike middle-age women came out of the back smiling from ear to ear. “Pizza?” He just nodded. He then held up two fingers and pointed to the draft beer spigot on the bar.

 

“So. Tell me. What happened.”

“What’s to tell? I thought everything was going great but I guess I was wrong.”

“What happened. Exactly.”

 

“We had just come back from our trip up the coast and she jumped on the phone to her mother the minute we got in the door. Which is quite usual. I was unloading the bags and she came back into the living room with tears in eyes.

 

“When I asked what had happened she told me that one of her relatives had died, that the family didn’t have any money to go and that nobody knew what they were going to be able to do.”

 

“Ah.”

 

“’Ah’ is right. I was totally floored. I thought there was something special between her and I but I guess I thought wrong. It really knocked me down.”

 

“What are you going to do?”

 

“I don’t know. I really don’t know. I really fell hard for her. I mean one hundred percent. Now I’m so stunned I’m paralyzed.”

 

“What if it’s true? What if there is a ‘dead relative’ somewhere in the countryside?”

 

“That’s my dilemma. There’s no way I can find out for sure if there is or isn’t so I have to trust her.

 

“Look partner, we have a lot in common because we’re all basically human but deep down, we’re truly different from them and they’re different from us. As much as we would like to be, as much as we would love to be, in their hearts they still see us as foreigners.”

 

“When I was with her I felt like everything was right in the world. It’s like I had recaptured my life force, my something, I don’t know how to describe it but with her I felt I had recaptured something I thought I had lost. When I was with her I thought I had regained it.”

 

“I wish it were something I could tell you but I can’t. Do you still love her?”

 

The pizza arrived as well as two mugs of beer. Across the street a class of kindergarten children wearing little blue shorts, white shirts and red neckerchiefs were walking up the street two by two holding hands. They could hear a church choir singing the hymns they knew but in a language they couldn’t understand. When the bells started to ring, they both felt far away from home.

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