Round For The Winter Months, written in wood

rating: +22+x

It happens like this: there are two men sitting at a table.

The rest doesn't matter, really, whichever way you want to spin it, which words you put in their mouths or what food on their plates or what blood or bond brings them close and keeps them there as long as the sentence lasts.

It's like this; simple.

There are two men sitting at a table.

Watch: this is the flat laminate of a mess hall table, a ponderous unfeeling thing of processed wood and stainless steel. Heavy.

The two men sit across from each other on the fixed long seats, eating pre-prepared meals off tacky plastic trays. Neither of them speaks.

We have so little in common, the botanist does not say to the ornithologist, because his mouth is full of lukewarm peas and he is still capable of exercising the barest restraint. There is so little common ground between us that it is barely the thin rise of a sandbar, he thinks, and, you look like you could be someone's father. He does not say either of these things aloud. He finishes his food and he leaves.

There are two men sitting at a table.

Watch: this is the scuffed teak of an old kitchen table, well-loved and well-worn, soft gentle wood that smells of varnish and warmth. His father ate his last meal at this table. It is a small kitchen, and the apartment is smaller still.

I'm sorry, says the man who owns the table to the man sitting at it across from him, and he runs a careful hand through the tight darkness of his short hair. I love you, but I'm sorry. You are very sick and I cannot help you and you have to leave.

The man who does not own the table says nothing. He is entranced by the realization that he does not own the table- something that he thought was his no longer belongs to him, and hasn't, and won't, and he will not eat his last meal at the table of the man whom he loves more than anything else in the world.

He gets up, and he leaves.

There are two men sitting at a table.

Watch: this is a kitchen table, too, but it is long and heavy and the wood is the hard heady darkness of stained oak. It is large enough for a family of many numbers, and because of this the man who owns it usually eats alone. Remember that part- most alive spaces are bright and crowded and warm.

The two men who sit at it across from each other do speak, but the words are only the meaningless filling of agonizing empty space. It is dark outside, night or the absence of being, a void that has swallowed the world and left behind only the too-large kitchen of a house no one has ever wanted to live in. There is meat in the sink, a raw red bloody thing defrosting into something that could eventually make something of a meal.

The younger man- look closely, he is the one who keeps turning his head to look at the sink, the tiles on the floor, searching and not finding some sort of hidden terror in an entirely ordinary place- he has been invited, so he does not leave. He stays, and he speaks, and later he falls silent save for the warm weight of his breath as he struggles to fill another in an endless parade of spaces that are empty and unwanted. But he stays.

Do you understand? The outcome is the same.

It's like this; simple.

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