George’s discussion with Sophia had released something in him. He felt connected to the world again. First, they had had sex, of course, but then they talked for a while, and it turned out this was what he was really paying for.

Sophia believed in God. Not only that, she was Catholic. He had noticed the gold cross she wore around her neck, but it was shocking to him that she was Catholic.

She had just laid there and stared off with her grayish eyes, and lit a cigarette from her bedside table. He thought she looked like an old movie actress – a really old school one. Like Clara Bow. She had these thin lips, that formed a tiny bow when her mouth closed. Clara bow lips.

Her chest rose and fell as she thought and smoked, and George was so entranced he forgot to be embarrassed with himself. It felt like he had found a place in the world.

She told him he could go, but he didn’t want to. George said he just wanted to talk, but they didn’t say much for a while. He wasn’t good with conversation.

He didn’t know what to ask her, which was fine because she eventually started talking on her own. She said a friend of hers had just died. It was an OD, she said. Her head was all messed up from it. She told him she had put it in the hands of The Lord.

George asked her if she really believed, because he didn’t know if he did, and that’s when she went on about her faith, but not in a way that most people did. She said she didn’t trust a lot of religious people because they were usually hiding something. They were often insincere. Sophia said she liked honest people, and George agreed that he did to. And then she smiled at him. She looked at him, and then through him, and it all felt sort of warm and comfortable like they were conspirators. He couldn’t remember, but he hoped he had told her he was sorry that she had lost someone.

Somehow they got to talking about a show they both liked, and then all too soon she said his hour was up. It was time to go. He didn’t want to leave her, but he also didn’t want to annoy her so he listened and left. On the way home, he felt this quiet buzzing and wondered if this was what it was like to have a friend.

  • Karen

    Delicate and profound