By on Jul 10, 2017 in Humor

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6

Meditation class, with overlaid sunset

I opened the door and called to Helene.

She turned.

How did I look at her, at her beautiful face, her warm shining eyes, her body you just wanted to wrap yourself up in? Were yearning and sadness written on my face for her to see?

“Helene,” I said again.

She came towards me.

“Hi, Bernie,” she said.

She raised her arms to hug me just as Harold banged the door into my ass.

“Sorry,” he said. “Oh, hi, Helene.”

“Harold,” she said, with some formality, if not disdain. Meanwhile, my hug was interrupted.

“I wouldn’t have pegged you two for Buddhists,” Helene said.

I was not in love with the fact that she so easily grouped me with fair Harold.

“Oh, we’re just checking it out,” said Harold.

Now he was grouping me with himself.

“Are you a Buddhist?” I asked Helene.

“You look so disgusted when you say that,” she said. “No, I’m not a Buddhist, but I do find it really interesting. And I love to meditate.”

“You meditate?” I said.

“Every day, for a half hour.”

“Do you fall asleep?” Harold asked.

“No, not even close,” Helene said. “Of course, I don’t get stoned before I meditate.”

“Hey,” Harold said. “Are you accusing me…?”

“Oh, please, Harold,” she said.

That shut him up. And not much does.

“Well, on that note…” he said, after a few frosty moments. “Listen, I’ll be up at my car,” he said to me. “See ya,” he said to Helene.

He turned and walked away, loudly jingling his keys.

“I’m not stoned,” I said to Helene.

She half-smiled.

“How’s your wife?” she asked.

“Minya? Oh, she’s fine. Busy.”

“I’d imagine so. You really had quadruplets?”

“We really did. Four of them.”

“That is so amazing. That’s wonderful,” said Helene.

“Well, it’s… it’s a lot of kids,” I said.

Yup, talking about the wife and kids. In a moment, I’ll be asking her about her husband and family, her one or two kids, her job, whatever. What would it take for the two of us to really talk, to say all the unspoken things of these thirty or so years? About three martinis? Did she even have unspoken things to say? Perhaps for her they were not merely unspoken, but unthought, unfelt. Nonexistent. Meanwhile Harold’s marijuana beckoned.

It felt a lot like high school. And college, for that matter: Try to talk to the girl, or go get stoned? Well, what in God’s name do you say to the girl? This girl who’s now decades removed from who she was…

“So, I guess I’ll see you around,” said Helene.

“I guess so.” Like in two or three or five years maybe. If neither of us dies first. The future seemed as bleak as those long ago afternoons at Hebrew school.

I could not think of what to say as we stood there awkwardly, on the brink of leaving. How to turn the enormity of my emotions, which were doing a pub crawl in and out of the twisted, dark corners of my psyche, into something not overwhelming and overbearing, into the truth? Into something utterable. My inner life could spook a hyena.

“It’s always great seeing you,” I spluttered.

She just smiled.

Harold’s little twitty Mazda horn tooted.

“Take care, Bernie,” Helene said.

“You, too,” I said.

And, like a dream, she was gone. No hug. No kiss. Just gone.

I spent a couple of seconds watching her walk away, then numbly made my way towards Harold’s car.

I felt bad. Empty. Alone.

As I got to Harold’s car, way over on the other side of the parking lot Helene was getting to hers. She turned around.

She waved.

I waved.

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6


After receiving degrees in psychology from Wesleyan and Duquesne Universities, and since completing Naropa University’s Creative Writing Program in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2005, Laurence Levey has had short stories published in Cezanne’s Carrot, Art Times, Versal, Ellipsis, The Barcelona Review and The Manhattanville Review; book reviews published in Drunken Boat and Word Riot; and poetry accepted for publication in Fulcrum. He was a semi-finalist in the Summer Literary Seminars-2010 Unified Literary Contest, a runner-up in the Summer Literary Seminars 2017 Contest, a finalist in the 2016 Breakwater Review Fiction Contest, and he writes for The Review Review.