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It was 3:00 and Bart was getting bored. Two more hours to go. He typed the medical report from the dictaphone and tried to get lost again in the typing, until he felt his cell phone vibration. It was her again, Erin, checking up on him about dinner. He let the phone ring and felt his stomach tighten when he was jolted to reality by someone poking his shoulder. It was Esperanza. Bart looked up and took his earphones off. “Hey, did you see the way Dr. Fein stared at Joan?” she chuckled. Bart laughed. Dr. Fein was a 33 year-old top-of-his-field orthopedist with a huge ego and matching good looks. Every woman in the office was intimidated by his scowling flirtations in his typical innocuous manner. Joan, the office manager, who was newly married and absolutely gorgeous, was not immune to his stabbing eyes. “Well, no. I hadn’t noticed”, he replied. “My God, she was trembling. He was kinda, you know flirting with her and asking her if she had ordered toner for the Xerox machine and she just stammered. He’s such a bastard. Mixing his horny ass with subordination. I hate him.” Esperanza vomited her views in a rampage. She had had an affair with Fein months ago. No one was supposed to know but everyone did because Esperanza had a big mouth and wore her heart on her sleeve. She was a mail room clerk and knew everyone’s business. “Yea, he’s a real prick.” he agreed. “You want to go for a drink after work at Momasita’s?” she smiled. Bart felt his phone go off again. “I wish I could but I have to meet Erin later.” “Oh, okay. We’ll do it another time cause they have free pupusas at happy hour.” He smiled at her. She was so easy to please. Easy, peazy: so different from Erin, the perfectionist, the high-powered advertising sales director who was as beautiful as she was successful.

He had met her when he worked at AdWorks two years prior. Those days, he had just graduated from Pace with an degree in public relations and interned at AdWorks. Erin was then selling space and moving up the ladder. He was in the creative department, writing copy, or trying to. His creative director, Taylor Phillips, never liked Bart’s work. Bart remembered his famous words, “When you stop trying to be a Romantic freaking poet, you might actually have some talent, Bart. I don’t want to see anything moody, misty or moldy. Please give me a break. You are writing copy for products. P R O D U C T S, not ideas!” No matter what Bart wrote, it was never good enough but Erin had clout and she kept Bart employed for those two years.

Bart had fair blue eyes and longish light brown hair that was always tussled. He wore a suit every day but never bothered to iron his clothes and had a slim but attractive body. He always had a smile on his face and eyes that laughed along with his dimpled cheeks and chin. Erin was attracted to him from the get-go but he was way out of her league. Erin went to Yale, came from old money and always won the deals. Having received a Lacrosse scholarship, she was so competitive that the other women in her department stayed clear of her. Bart was surprised that she noticed him at all since he was hidden in the back office with the creatives. Erin was pure business. She wore Italian-made suits and Kate Spade jewelry. Standing in her heels, she was over six feet, eye-to-eye with most men, including Bart. Her sparkling green eyes, toothy smile and platinum blonde hair put her on the A-list. Every executive in the company wanted her but no one ever had her, except for Bart. The funny part was that Bart was not really struck by her beauty or demeanor; he was just going along for the ride and she was a rough rider. Everything had to be Erin’s way. She was used to it and Bart was not about to change that. He was not an alpha male, but the baby of a large family of four sisters and one brother. Both parents were kind-hearted working class who gave their children the best possible education to explore their futures. Bart’s brother was in computers, two of his sisters were teachers and the other two were nurses. All married, he was the lone bachelor. Bart did not want to marry. He had a studio apartment in Brooklyn and was totally satisfied with it. Unlike Erin, who owned a condo in SoHo, had Henredon furniture, and daily maid service; Erin had been making six figures since she started at Adworks. Bart, barely made $50 grand but did not care. His apartment was sparse: a sofa bed, built-in closet, microwave, empty frig, except for the freezer, with a clean oven and stove top. He did not need much.

Back then, Erin had wined and dined Bart and he tried in his own way to repay her with Mets tickets and an occasional movie. He really liked her and was comfortable with her as long as he could live alone. Erin wanted him to move in with her. She had been hounding him for months but he shrugged it off with a smile and a hug, which always seemed to appease her in the short term. But lately she was becoming clingy, not at all like her. She had turned 31 and was always “PMS-ing”. Every time she would see a pregnant woman or someone pushing a stroller she would get moody.

Bart knew what was happening; he had four sisters and remembered how they felt about careers and children. All of his sisters had children and his brother had three. He remembered how Erin acted when he brought her to his family for Thanksgiving. She seemed so irritated by seeing all his nieces and nephews running around happily. Of course, what Erin did not see was the hard work and sleepless nights that accompanied such families: the endless running noses, trips to doctors, childcare expenses, homework, shopping, cooking, etc.

His phone went off again and he winked at Esperanza. “There she is, like clockwork. I have to answer it,” he smiled. “Okay, Bartman. You take care of your woman. Go on. We’ll eat those pupusas another time,” she rubbed his back. Bart picked up the phone. “Hey, what’s happening for tonight?” Erin spoke in her typical monotone strident tone. “Not much. I don’t know. What do you want to do?” Bart replied. “Don’t you ever want to make plans? Do I always have to do it?” “C’mon, Erin. It’s Friday and I don’t want any pressure. You know how I am. I like to take it easy on Fridays and hit the bar for a drink and maybe some dinner.” “No, not tonight. Taylor wants us to meet him at Gaylord’s for dinner. He’s wondering when you are going to get bored with your so-called job and come back to Adworks.” she spewed the words while sipping on something. “Are you out of your mind? I don’t want to every meet that humphead again. He’s the reason I left Adworks and you know that. Erin, what’s going on?” Bart answered and realized he was talking way to loudly. “Well, then I’m going to have dinner with Taylor without you.” she answered. “Okay, if that’s what you want. No problem. You know how I feel about that place,” he said. “But you’ve been moonlighting at that pain center for how long now? Eight months? Typing? Really. I just don’t understand how you can be satisfied there?” she said taking another sip. “I am satisfied. I am making the same money, can hop out of bed and walk to work. No trains, no rush hour. I have a flexible schedule and it’s fine. What’s your worry with it, anyway,” Bart replied. “Oh,nothing. I guess I get your point but really, how long can you deal with that office. Is this what you went to Pace for?” she stated. “Erin, listen. I’m tired of this. I am not an executive. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone and I thought you understood this. But apparently, you don’t.” “Okay, okay. Listen, tonight you can do your own thing and relax. I get it. But I’m meeting Taylor anyway. We have to discuss business.” she said. “You’re okay with it, right?” she asked in an apologetic manner. “Sure. I don’t mind at all. Send him my love.” he snickered. “Ha, ha. Yes, I will. Okay, I love you. Call you later!” she hung up.

Bart was relieved. Speaking to Erin was so stressful; she always had to make some kind of statement and he was just done with the attitude. Bart finished typing the medical report and noticed that Esperanza had left and so had most of the staff. As he shut down his computer, he heard Fein’s voice. “Joan. Come here, please. There’s a problem with this report.” “What report?” Joan responded, trying to sound confident and strong. He heard Joan close the door in Fein’s office and then some laughter. Bart laughed to himself: “Wow, I really didn’t think she’d be screwing around so soon.”

He put on his jacket and walked out to the cool fall evening.

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A Ray of Light

Sometimes a ray of light
is diminished darkness
which curls itself around the sun.
Nonetheless, its ability
to be positive is a gift
to the lowered eye,
which sees itself at half mast
incongruously and with animosity.
Darkness is welcome during sadness.
Darkness is welcome at night.
Darkness is welcome whenever light is at bay.
Light, the centering measure of sight,
knows when it is welcome among the darkness,
as when dawn stretches her rosy fingers across the sky
or twilight tiptoes through the trees.

Privlaka

Blue waves caress brown sand softened by children’s feet.
Sounds of laughter, sailboats and scooters peruse the air.
By noon, the flavors of lamb, veal and cervapi are detected.

The children dash and laugh as they swim and play on floats
with their parents close by. Family is important!
No worries here. From 2 to 4 pm, there is silence,
for the heat brings everyone back to their homes.

Then the tide brings the wind, or maybe bora will come
from the mountains to bring relief from the hot sun.
Once again, children’s voices mix with motor boats
and life continues well into the night.

Late August

The wind begins to sway the drying leaves

that are less green now as crickets sing.

The air is heavy and clouds are often full.

A change again as weather shifts a bit

and seasons morph and slowly shift.

It won’t be long until the crickets cease

and evenings lengthen darker

 

Now is forever

Life is not really like a box of chocolates if there is diagram on the box

It does not get any better than a lazy summer day listening to Pandora 80s dark wave music

the most wonderful moments in life are usually hidden from everyone

When I wake up I want to smile and twirl like a ballet dancer pirouetting into a summer breeze

Today when I prepare dinner,  it will be special

All things are as they are always meant to be.

Mr. Man

hunger

hunger makes people work

and cry and die