THE WRITER MUST EAT -> patreon.com/trn1ty <- blah! ideas with no tangibility; ideas with irrelevant supports; ideas without value; ideas' witlessness; ideas' witnesses; ideas- <^> 2023-01-11 "Sounds like a pretty one-sided relationship." "Well, yeah." Ada Karina had finished her brief account of a story that spanned decades. "Forty five the first time... back twenty three years from that... then how old?" "Oh, I uh- thirty. Even, I think." "Eight years. So fifty three. Then you were thirty five, another thirteen. That's sixty six years?" "I guess." Ada checked her watch. "You're twenty three now. That makes you eighty nine." "I guess." Howard tapped his fingers on the recliner. A church bell rang in the distance; noon. The cafe would close in an hour. He thought to himself. "Older than me." "Not physically. Mentally I feel like my brain's on fire. Probably I won't last much longer up in my head. But it helps a lot that I'm twenty three by all observable quantities. And really it's more like I was trapped in a simulation three times rather than that I actually time travelled." "How was it?" "How was what?" "You spent- eighty nine, twenty three - sixty six years working towards a relationship. I mean, no matter how good Cassidy is, is it worth it to go that long?" Ada thought for a moment. "For a smile? For a hug? Of course. and it kills me that it's gone." She laughed. "Yeah. It just kills me." Ada turned her head to look outside at the table at which she met Cassidy the second, third, and fourth times. Howard Polk had been the owner of the cafe for the previous two years. He wondered if he'd be alive for the holocaust, if Ada couldn't prevent it. He looked at his knuckles resting on the worn cotton armrest. The burns he got as a cook at someone else's establishment decades past never healed, not on his knuckles and not on his neck. "I lost someone too, once. The last person I cared about. Actually cared about." "May I ask who?" Howard snorted. "Yes you may. The co-owner. Margeret." "Margeret." "Best damn cook I knew. Taught me everything I know. Everything." "What happened?" Howard scratched the recliner fabric and felt the texture. "We went our separate ways, or rather, she went her separate way, getting bored of the business or the routine or something. I texted, called, messaged back when instant messaging was still new. And she sent me a message saying it wasn't my fault that she didn't answer and that she was going through a rough patch." Ada turned back to Howard. "What happened?" "She washed up on the shore of the Nile." "Fuck." "I still prefer it to what you said. Even if I don't quite believe it." A timer went off in the kitchen area behind the counter in front of which Howard's recliner sat. Ada watched the cook bend down out of sight and return to view with a pan of bacon. "I wouldn't believe it either." <^> No rights reserved, all rights exercised, rights turned to lefts, left in this corner of the web.