{Vignette}

At the Servant Jazz Quarters cocktail bar, the bar lady dressed in wide black and white stripes fixes me with eyes not unkind but commanding attention:

‘Do you think,’ she asks me, her eyebrows arching like raven’s wings flying high above the cliffs of her teeth: ‘that people are afraid to love?’

‘Yes,’ say I, without hesitation, for I know I am.

‘Why?’ she shoots at me as if I had made it so.

‘I don’t know.’ And it’s true: I don’t know, but I think that maybe it’s because it makes us feel vulnerable, and I say so: ‘maybe because it makes them feel vulnerable.’ (I change the pronoun, hoping that she won’t notice.)

‘And is that a bad thing?’ she demands, probably having noticed, and I say it isn’t, but that it’s what makes us afraid.

I feel that I’ve closed the loop and maybe she feels so too as she places a Death in Venice in front of me on the bar.

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