Thursday, 18 July 2013

Glimmer

Ralph hated 'It's a Wonderful Life,' but still went to see it every year just before Christmas. He found it as irresistible as a scab. Queuing to buy coffee and a flapjack in the Ritzy's foyer, he saw them. Entwined, laughing, they breezed in as if returning from a bracing Boxing Day walk. They shone, glowed, while those around them were as grey as the weather.
They bought tickets for the same film he'd chosen. He followed them into the bar and lurked near their table. They discussed their Christmas plans, beaming at each other. Bitterly watching this smug tableau he imagined them rattling through life on rails of luck and charm. He half hoped they might continue chattering during the movie so he could snarl rudely at them.
Soon they fell silent, holding hands under the table. The woman began reading her newspaper. Suddenly, her eyebrows rose. She squeezed her lover's hand.
'Wow! This guy in the obituaries was only thirty. Scary, huh?'
Another stinging cut. Life seemed a growing list of things Ralph would never do. At forty he wasn't successful enough for an obituary. But, sipping his coffee, he had to concede he wasn't dead enough either.

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