Forty days and forty nights


Forty's about right. That's how long he was drunk the last time she walked out.  He had a problem with that.  Waking up late in the morning, he'd eat a ham sandwich and drink a beer before going to the cafe.  At the cafe, he'd start with a coffee while doodling in his notebook, then switch to beer when the first clear idea came to him.  After that, it was serious writing until the fourth ofr fifth beer kicked in.  Around two, he'd head for home and eat something, take a nap, then read what he'd written.  For the most part it was good, but there was always some slop. It was the same kind of slop he had in his relationship, the wrong word, the wrong connotation, the  wrong approach. Culture clash. 

He'd been writing about trout fishing in America yesterday, when she walked into the cafe with the new guy. It was an obvious provocation, and he was provoked, bit he didnt let it show.  She greeted him and he curtly nodded his head in reply.  The guy she was with didn't look like much.   He was all medium, looks, body, and from the face, probably mind.  That made sense.  She always said he was too much for her and he knew she was right. He went back to his work and ordered another beer.  They sat not far away from him, and with his ability to multitask, he could eavesdrop and write at the same time.  The conversation was relatively boring, the ocean, translation, the kids. Same as always, but it made him nostalgic. He drank his beer quickly, paid his bill, and headed up the street to Harry's. He could write there just as well and the beer was cheaper.

About half way through the forty days, she called him to ask for help on some translations. He couldn't quite figure that out. There were plenty of other people she could ask, people whose bubbles she hadn't burst, but he helped her out anyway.  He'd always been that way, generous to a fault, his mother said.  If she was looking for a reconciliation,  it wasn't going to happen.  The walk out had kept him from writing for awhile and now he was on a roll and wasn't going let her screw it up.

It turned out to be nothing but a quirk in her thinking that they were still friends.  He wouldn't try to explain the Jeckell-Hyde feelings he had toward her. She wouldn't unnderstand. In a way, she was one dimensional.  If he was sick, she was there for him.  If he needed to talk, she wasn't.  She had to do laundry or clean the kithen, maybe later. Later never came.  He'd been thinking of breaking it off himself, but she got the drop on him.  After she left, he realized he was wrong, he needed her.  His life began looking like a '60s lost love ballad with beer. 


After forty days, he sobered up, put on his hiking shoes and spent a week doing a 75 km stretch, staying in 2 star hotels and drinking beer at the end of the day. It was the day time drinking that got him in trouble and this was good training to avoid it.  When he got home, he picked up a fresh notebook and walked over to Harry's.  That was the day he wrote this story..

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