The Ottomans were ruthless, he was saying.
Rod would never have said that. Rod was interested in soul. The Ottomans had no soul—or had soul. He would know. If it were Rod sitting across from her, he’d be pouring tiny cups of green tea, holding his to his nose, inhaling deeply before touching his lip to the rim and savoring every soulful swallow. Then he’d sigh, take her hand, look at her, We are one, he would say. She would pull her hand back and take her first sip of the lukewarm, bitter stuff.
The Ottoman Empire reached its height during the rule of Suleiman . . .” Hector was saying.
Suleiman the first or second? she said. She did know how to keep a man going.
Rod would finish his tea slowly and audibly, then sit back and stare at her with the ardor of all those Jungian souls connected to her, not saying a word because language is so unnecessary, so impure, inexact, nonessential. He could stare at her unblinking, for hours—it felt like hours—hours in which her mind skipped and flitted from the eyeliner she forgot that morning to the banana she left in the fridge too long to a pang of guilt at not calling her mother back to the large cup of coffee she would have as soon as Rod left, back to his half-moon eyes regarding her with the passion of the centuries.
He brought her soulful love from the Buddha, the Dali Lama, St. Theresa and St. Francis, and from Jesus himself, all sacred spirits connected to . . .
And that was it for the Ottomans. Hector paused, glanced at her. She shook off the memory of the adoration of centuries, smiled, folded her napkin and placed it next to her cup—the coffee had been fabulous. She considered saying she was going to the restroom when he cleared his throat and said, Now Kemal Attaturk, there was an interesting man.
She pulled out her phone as if it had just rung and held it to her ear. Omigod, I’m so sorry. I’ll be right there, she said and stood, shrugged apologetically, and fled.
©2011 Kathleen Coskran