He Said

A few of us are going down to the pub after work, he said. Join us, he said.

I hesitated for a moment. I suspected that a few of use would turn out to be just him. I hesitated a moment more.

He smiled.

Sure, I said, see you there.

Everyone left at five. I stayed, I waited. I didn’t want to seem to be too eager.

The pub was mostly empty. He was alone at the bar. The few hadn’t made it or had left already. I sat down. He smiled again.

He ordered another pint for himself. I nibbled at the stale peanuts sitting in a chipped bowl before me.

We said nothing for a while, awkward.

The he smiled at me and said, did I ever tell you about the time I met the Queen and sneezed on her.

He jumped up and acted out his story. I was laughing so much that my sides ached and I thought I would fall off my stool.

But wait, he said, the funny part is still coming.

So it went. His stories very funny, even the bartender pretending not to listen was chuckling.

Then, my wife doesn’t understand me, he said.

I hesitated, He smiled.

My husband understands me just fine, I said. I thanked him for the non-existant drink and left.

I went home and skyped my husband, halfway across the world. I had a drink with a man, I said. He made me laugh till my sides hurt, I said.

I understand, he said. London is a lonely place but you will be home soon, he said.

Yes I will, I said, ninety-one days.

I love he, he said.

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