By Lance Valentino
What strange people populate this world!
I admit I’m a people watcher. When I go to the mall, I watch all the people passing by, like the covers of books not yet read. Such wonder lies in each! How frustrating it is that I can’t convince others to feel as I do. When I lecture my Phys. Ed. classes on the wonders of the human body, when I read quotes to them of the body’s perfection — a temple for the Holy Spirit the Bible says — when I show them how to use the weight machines and feel the exertions of muscles, I look to them to share with me this experience of life. Do you know what I see? Bored eyes glancing at watches. Well, the guys at least. The girls watch me closely enough. They get something, though I’m not sure what or how much. It isn’t the stretches, I think.I believed that here, at the Story Project, I would find spiritual kin. But what have I found? Let me take them one by one. Cassandra Talbot, managing editor. I heard that she was a beauty queen or something once, and I think, Lance, you knew that. You knew it, even if you couldn’t put your finger on it. It’s something about the way she holds herself. Here, in my uptight, deadline-oriented boss (doesn’t she know that inspiration can’t be held to a 9-5 schedule?) I find a kindred soul. I congratulated her this morning. She didn’t say, pleasantly, “Thank you.” She didn’t blush and say it was a long time ago. She glared at me. And then, this is seriously how it happened, she stepped close to me and said quietly, “Unless you have business to discuss, Mr. Valentino….” And she turned away. She didn’t even finish her sentence. That’s what I get for thinking someone besides myself might recognize the beauty of the human body.
Sarah Smith. She hates me. I’m sure of it. Well, two can play that game.
X — I’ll admit the old man is likable. I’ll admit he has a sort of absent-minded charm. I’ll admit his wife cooks the best liver and onions a man can find. (The smell, even, brings back pleasant childhood memories.) But, in the end, he’s a man of thought. I’m a man of action. I can respect him, but I can’t understand him. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again – a wonderful character for a book, but I don’t want locked in a room with him.
The Lady Katrina Alexis. My hope and my heart lie still with her. A man could go mad trying to crack a shell as tough as hers, but inside what sweet fruit! I taste it day after day in the wry twist of her lips, in the sharp flash of her eyes, in the quick wit of her tongue. She possesses, I am convinced, a body, mind, and spirit fully able to taste the pleasures of this wonderful, blessed world! But she has been hardened because she has been misunderstood — I fight such disinterest in mankind even now; for what is a people-watcher but one who does not want to interact with people? Ah, such a complex woman she is! We are worthy of each other!
There is another writer coming tomorrow, and it’s not the poem-writer. Perhaps he and I will understand one another. If not…. Well, I will not think on it at the present.