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Creative Writing: Our Town

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recall that his handshake was warm and his face handsome with a quirky smile. I’d noticed him earlier at dinner seated at the table talking animatedly to a group of academics. So, it felt fitting to finally have a chance to speak with him alone. Malcolm told me that he taught physics at UC Berkeley and a meditation class on Saturdays in a back room at the Berkeley food co-op. He said it was hands down, the best place to buy local grown organic fruits and vegetables. And to talk with cool farmers with advanced degrees in history, philosophy and art while snacking on a handful of trail mix.
He remarked that on occasion he smoked cannabis or drank alcohol. But preferred to take solitary walks in the Berkeley Hills, where he could attain an altered
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“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it -- every, every minute?” “Our Town is my favorite play,” I burst out, elated.
“Ditto,” he said.
I turned to face him and his dark eyes sunk into mine. In that instant, my tired heart missed a beat, and in the gap, I fell in love. Then, much too soon a car passed, and a dog barked. With the twinkling of a star, the special time we shared dissipated. I wanted to see him again. So I asked the ridiculous. “Can I audit your physics class?”
With a gentle voice, he said, “Absolutely.”
Right after, we sat on the porch of Vivian’s house and stayed there for hours. He disclosed that his wife worked as a pediatrician and they were parents of young twins, Jane and Tim. I didn’t dare ask why he arrived solo on a major holiday, rather presumed his marriage had been on the slide. I had no proof, only a wild speculation that needed to be restrained.
Thanksgiving came to a close. As Mark and I were leaving, Malcolm kissed me on the cheek and mouthed into my ear, “See you in class.” His words sounded sweet, though, they terrified me. Given that, as a student in grammar school, I had sweated through algebra and geometry. So to audit Malcolm’s physics class gave me
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When I heard his voice, I got emotional. But after a few tears from both of us, we picked up where we had left off more than a decade ago. I tried to stay clear of talking about the most recent losses in my life. They were too raw to discuss. However, when he pressed me for details, I reneged in part, and said, “I lost my job at a studio. And worry, if I don’t find a comparable one before my birthday this summer, my career is finished.”
“I’m so sorry,” he said, and threw out an immediate solution. “Since you have free time, why not come for a visit. I teach meditation and a spiritual class that might prove helpful.”
“I’d love to see you,” I told him. And then, gave excuses why it wasn’t possible. The job market is competitive. And that it’s important that I stay put and make an effort to network. “All true,” he said. “But you deserve a break. When you come, we’ll celebrate your birthday with cake and champagne. My guest house is vacant and ready for you.”
With that, my decision was made. How can I refuse a man who knows what I truly need and has the desire to make me happy? Even so, I wondered had he become a New Age guru and abandoned his teaching position at the university. And what about his wife, would she welcome me, as
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