By Scott Russell Morris

May 29, 2017


You were in the restroom, so you didn’t witness the reunion:

Two middle-aged Italian men, both with airport employee badges, passed each other in the café. One perched on a high stool, casually dressed in jeans, sipping an espresso and eating a focaccia sandwich stuffed with parma ham and pale cheese; the other sported a shaved head and wore a dark suit, but no tie, and held a coat over his arms, which swelled with large, practiced muscles, on display under rolled-up sleeves. They recognized each other first with wide-eyed disbelief and then with a Mediterranean double kiss. The bald man squeezed his friend’s knee, affection approaching passion, then grasped him behind the neck to press their foreheads together, leaning in for another twofold kiss. How long, I wondered, had they circled each other without crossing paths. They couldn’t have known how close they were, the exchange of phone numbers a sign that they had lost touch some time ago, hadn’t realized that every day they labored under the same roof. Such delight at this chance meeting, pleasure measured by the firmness of the embrace: their teeth showed, their hearts so close together the employee badges intertwined. With a third round of kissed cheeks, they parted ways and the first man finished his sandwich and cup, gone before you returned.

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