You pity the sound of broken glass.

Not that the broken glass has a life of its own. What it once was may have represented more. It may have been a gift at one time. It might have been symbolic. When we fail to admire broken glass we ignore its history. Anything that is broken was once something whole. Otherwise we would not notice that it is broken.

Music and laughter is the mark of everlasting hope.

It is 1987. It is August. It is late evening. I am sitting alone, not waiting on a lady, just waiting on a friend. The outdoor cafe is open and the house band is getting ready to strike up a tune. I watch the people around me, but my attention gravitates towards one table. There are seated a man and a woman. They appear to be in their early forties. Moments ago I heard a crash and the sound of breaking glass. Now I watch as these two people stare down at the ground and speak to each other in hushed tones. There is something in the air that only the two of them are capable of understanding. And when their understanding evaporates, then it won't matter any longer.

Silence is louder when your legs are bare.

The woman stands up from the table. She looks upset, there is a perfectly diamond shaped tear in the corner of her left eye. The man touches her arm, clasping her elbow gently in the cradle of his hand. She stoops down, not even caring that her skirt is blowing a bit too freely in the wild summer night wind. She is frantically picking up the pieces, the fragments of their broken trophy, and handing them to her friend. Frustrated with her slow progress and the attention being paid to their efforts by the other patrons of the outdoor cafe, she throws up her hands in disgust and shakes him off.

Even twenty years can disappear in the blink of an eye.

"Yes! I slept with Darlene!"

I was as surprised as anyone who happened to be there in the cafe that night to hear the man's sudden outburst. The woman seemed more surprised than any of us. She hurled the remaining glass fragments she had discovered against the front of the man's striped double knit permanent press short-sleeved shirt. Then she grabbed her purse off the table. It caught on the edge of the table before she yanked it free and stormed out of the cafe. The man paused for a moment and then followed briskly in her footsteps. I looked at their now vacant table where a small round plastic tube has settled in amongst the broken glass. It started to rain. The rain was not steady. It was more like an annoying drizzle. A thin black line began streaming out of the plastic tube in accordance with the rain's wishes.

They had left, but her mascara kept running.
Fragments of a broken life left out in the rain.

The waitress was there asking if I needed another drink. I drank her in, noting everything I could commit to memory about her and shook my head. I handed her a twenty dollar bill for the one beer I had drank and headed back out to the street.

It was time to come home.

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