I met him at the book store
in a long line at the checkout.
He was talking about life and politics.
I asked him a question
that my mother had asked me,
which she had heard on a quiz show, I think.
“What was the first Beatles song,” I asked,
“without the words I, me, mine, or
you or your, or we or our,
in the lyrics?”
He thought for a moment,
and then replied, “Eleanor Rigby,”
which is the correct answer.
So I agreed to go out with him.
On our third date, he got a little frisky,
made a play for my breasts,
I slapped his hand and said,
“Don’t squeeze the Charmin.”
After a while we were sleeping together,
every so often.
At my place we baked oatmeal cookies,
listened to music, and watched movies.
At his place we solved crossword puzzles.
We also biked around town,
shopped the antique stores,
fed bread crumbs to the ducks.
The day came when he said,
“Guess what, I got that job in Philadelphia.
So you want to come along,
you know, and get married?”
I had known David well enough by then to know that
his casual proposal could be followed by a formal one
with diamond ring, bent knee, flowers, and romance,
assuming I would encourage him, which I did not.
He became the Philadelphia Man,
and hauled the ten hours to visit me,
scrambled up the staircase,
but less and less often, over the months,
as we began seeing other people, of course.
We still speak regularly on the telephone,
and sometimes I see him and his wife,
with their son and daughter,
when they come back to visit family.
Yesterday, I called up David to ask another
question that was bothering me. I asked,
“Why can you see through a thin layer of water,
but if you look into a deep lake or the ocean,
even on a sunny day,
you cannot see what lies beneath?”