"Evelyn," I sigh. "I'm sorry. You're just... not terribly important... to me."
Without missing a beat she demands, "Well, who is? Who do you think is, Patrick? Who do you want?" After an angry pause she asks, "Cher?"
"Cher?" I ask back, confused. "Cher? What are you talking about? Oh forget it. I want it over. I need sex on a regular basis. I need to be distracted."
In a matter of seconds she becomes frantic, barely able to contain the rising hysteria that's surging through her body. I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. "But what about the past? Our past?" she asks again, uselessly.
"Don't mention it," I tell her, leaning in.
"Because we never really shared one," I say, keeping my voice from rising.
She calms herself down and, ignoring me, opening her handbag again, mutters, "Pathological. Your behavior is pathological."
"What does that mean?" I ask, offended.
"Abhorrent. You're pathological." She finds a Laura Ashley pillbox and unsnaps it.
"Pathological what?" I ask, trying to smile.
"Forget it." She takes a pill that I don't recognize and uses my water to swallow it.
"I'm pathological? You're telling me that I'm pathological?" I ask.
"We look at the world differently, Patrick." She sniffs.
"Thank god," I say viciously.
"You're inhuman," she says, trying, I think, not to cry.
"I'm" - I stall, attempting to defend myself - "in touch with... humanity."
"No, no, no." She shakes her head.
"I know my behavior is... erratic sometimes," I say, fumbling.
Suddenly, desperately, she takes my hand from acres the table, pulling it closer to her. "What do you want me to do? What is it you want?"
"Oh Evelyn," I groan, pulling my hand away, shocked that I've finally gotten through to her.
She's crying. "What do you want me to do, Patrick? Tell me. Please," she begs.
"You should... oh god, I don't know. Wear erotic underwear?" I say, guessing. "Oh Jesus, Evelyn. I don't know. Nothing. You can't do anything."
"Please, what can I do?" she sobs quietly.
"Smile less often? Know more about cars? Say my name with less regularity? Is this what you want to hear?" I ask. "It won't change anything. You don't even drink beer," I mutter.
"But you don't drink beer either."
"'That doesri t matter. Besides, I just ordered one. So there."
"If you really want to do something for me, you can stop making a scene right now," I say, looking uncomfortably around the room.
"Waiter?" she asks, as soon as he sets down the decaf espresso, the port and the dry beer. "I'll have a... I'll have a... a what?" She looks over at me tearfully, confused and panicked. "A Corona? Is that what you drink, Patrick? A Corona?"
"Oh my god. Give it up. Please, just excuse her," I tell the waiter, then, as soon as he walks away, "Yes. A Corona. But we're in a f**king Chinese-Cajun bistro so - "
"Oh god, Patrick," she sobs, blowing her nose into the handkerchief I've tossed at her. "You're so lousy. You're... inhuman."
"No, I'm..." I stall again.
"You... are not..." She stops, wiping her face, unable to finish.
"I'm not what?" I ask, waiting, interested.
"You are not" - she sniffs, looks down, her shoulders heaving - "all there. You" - she chokes - "don't add up."
"I do too," I say indignantly, defending myself. "I do too add up."
"You're a ghoul," she sobs.
"No, no," I say, confused, watching her. "You're the ghoul."
"Oh god," she moans, causing the table next to ours to look over, then away. "I can't believe this."
"I'm leaving now," I say soothingly. "I've assessed the situation and I'm going."
"Don't," she says, trying to grab my hand. "Don't go."
"I'm leaving, Evelyn."
"Where are you going?" Suddenly she looks remarkably composed. She's been careful not to let the tears, which actually I've just noticed are very few, affect her makeup. "Tell me, Patrick, where are you going?"
I've placed a cigar on the table. She's too upset to even comment. "I'm just leaving," I say simply.
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