There was a woman. There is always a woman. A beautiful woman.
The life of any man is a burning, then a standing over ashes. Stirring and stirring, with his cane. I was young. And burning.
We walked, evenings. This woman and I. For the days were too warm. When the sun went down, and the wind rose, and the moon, we walked. Through the town. Across the lawn, the green lawn of the museum. Behind the museum, where we would make love. We could not pass by, without doing so.
We had been talking. I had been talking, and she had been listening. She listened attentively, but said nothing. There was a sadness about this woman that was no small part of her charm. She was never so sad, or so beautiful, as that evening.
I stopped. And I asked her … if there was something.
She did not answer. But asked me to keep walking. And speaking. Being in the mood for listening, but not speaking.
I continued, for a time. Then paused again.
The woman. In the moonlight, she was so beautiful. Yet so melancholy.
I asked her again, if there was something.
She shook her head, only.
I wanted so badly for her to speak. To hear her. When you are in love, and young, only, it is a pleasure to listen. When you have forgotten about love, and so grown older, you cannot hear, and will not listen. You will talk a great deal, as before. But you will never again listen.
So I asked again. I took her by the shoulder, and turned her. For I knew there was something. There is always something.
I leaned in.
Then she said, “I am afraid … there is something.”
I listened. Watching her white teeth moving.
“There is something.”
We were walking home. We crossed the lawn, the dark lawn of the museum.
We kept walking.