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You, sitting alone in the food court of a too-busy shopping mall just before Christmas, is enough to convince me that we've all gone mad. So bright are your eyes, so sensual your hold on that greasy hamburger that I cannot believe anyone would let you eat alone. It seems strange that no one rushes to you, flocks to you, notices you but there again we're not good enough to even have seen you.

I try pushing fries in my mouth too quickly, hoping you will at once notice me and not notice me staring at the angelic expression on your face that tells me you're really enjoying your lunch. I blush when I realize you've stopped eating. You're looking around nervously. Perhaps I've frightened you. My face turns the color of several ripened tomatoes.

And with the tomatoes, it hits me. You're looking for something. Ketchup. Every table around you is taken with people using theirs. Dare you ask to borrow their bottle? I'd gladly buy you a ketchup factory if only you'd ask. From across the cheap cafeteria furniture I will you to look at me. See? My bottle is ready for lending. Please come, lonely angel without any condiments. I would like nothing more than to share this meal and the rest of my life with someone as breathtaking as you.

I imagine our life together, me leaving my wife and you leaving your packages and the two of us running away together to some hidden tropical island where the ketchup is only for us. You laugh, breasts heaving, as we lie on the beach together. I rub coconut oil into your soft, perfect skin as you relive the time we first met, at the food court in some anonymous shrine to commercialism. I breathe in the tangerine smell from your hair and then we are making love in the white sands, whispering and kissing and moaning beneath the sun and the seabreeze. All this because of a bottle of Heinz.

But then you've moved from your table and approached a young man sitting alone, and you've leaned over the table and smiled that smile I almost kissed and you say something to him in a voice that can only sound like bells ringing. He hands you a bottle of bright red and holds it a moment longer, pauses, invites you to sit. And you do and you laugh and you mean it.

I've lost my appetite.

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