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INCREDIBLE (SILENCE): A STUDY IN THE GERMANE (AND PARANTHETICAL) by James B. Nicola

Lady gets on with dog. Yellow Labrador (for a walk).

 

I almost pet the dog, always well-behaved and sweet (the dog, that is).

 

Other lady gets on with bags. Big paper shopping bags with handles, bursting with

boxes wrapped in patterned paper (which suggests gifts).

 

It is December, though we are headed out (from our apartments), not in (from stores

and shopping), so maybe the bag-laden lady is on a Santa Claus run, distributing

the laminated loot (maybe).

 

Below, a corner of one bag smashes into the face of the dog (accidentally)—or

grazes, not smashes. From my back corner of the elevator, I can’t quite tell

which. (Only three bipeds on the elevator.)

 

Lab-leashed lady says, “Ma’am, your bags” (followed by a silence). Bag-laden lady

says, “I can barely move” (more silence).

 

At “L” (for “lobby”), bag-laden lady steps aside to let Lab and Lab-leashed lady off

first. She can move, after all, a bit better than “barely” (bag-laden lady).

 

Once the Lab and Lab-leashed lady have advanced out of earshot, bag-laden lady

turns to me and says, as if in italics, “Incredible” (more silence).

 

Incredible that you didn’t say excuse me? (I do not ask this out loud, and feel rankled

by the silence.)

 

Although I didn’t think of this question (I don’t think) till she (bag-laden lady) had

advanced out of earshot (mine). But maybe I did (think of it).

 

Either way, I kept silent—which (now) I find incredible.

 

James B. Nicola (who strives to be both ageless and timeless) lives in New York City. He has had careers as a stage director, composer, lyricist, playwright, author (Playing the Audience–CHOICE Award), acting teacher, and now as a poet as well. He currently hosts the Hell s Kitchen International Writers Round Table in Manhattan.

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