At my desk I get a good view of the lobby flowers that get changed regularly. Two weeks ago they were a purple irises. Back in the day there used to be a whole courtship code that was communicated by flower arrangements. If a suitor gave me a bouquet of purple irises one hundred or more years ago it would have meant, “your friendship means so much to me.” Three days ago the lobby sported tiger lilies. If my beau gave me those in 1893 he would have been showing off, as tiger lilies symbolized wealth and pride. Today, I see white roses. If I were given those it would probably have meant I had a secret admirer with a careful nature, as white roses symbolized secrecy and innocence.
I am clacking some of my own secret thoughts at my typewriter when a man climbs up the steps to stare for a while. He cranes his neck at an uncomfortable angle to read what I am writing as I type it. I rip the page out from the roller and it makes a loud “thwish!” I then hand it to him with more confidence than I feel, for I feel that no one should really read what I am writing. He sets his beer on my desk to read with both hands. The beer he is drinking is in a glass growler. A growler holds half a gallon of beer. I decide that anyone who happens to be drinking half a gallon of beer is in the ideal condition to read what I have been writing. He reads half of it, hands it back to me, states, “This is definitively stream of consciousness,” and then picks up his growler to take his leave.
A woman fills in his place next to my desk, curious as to what I am up to. We talk and soon she requests me to write her a love letter for her husband. He is not with her at the hotel at the moment, because the conference she is attending does not permit the presence of spouses. They both live here in Milwaukee, but she misses him terribly, so much so that she plans to sneak away (entirely illicit) from the meeting to go hear music with him at Summerfest.
My secret, the gemstone in the bottom of the boot pocket secret, I sneak out from this old world “no spouses allowed” 100 year anniversary company sales meeting, yes, I sneak out in my business casual saunter to the eastern lake breeze where I cannot be followed by national sales meeting spies because there are too many Ray Lamontagne fans like us protecting us from the hooks and grabbers of workplace responsibility & dutiful spouseless chastity and though there are many other persons in this crowd I can find you by smell. Your smell is half your charm the rest of your charm exceeds halves and quarters but is composed of well folded intellect, sideways swing humor, abundant love that reflects upon me, your wife, and here, here my dear, I hold a mirror. See yourself? You are with me always even when the parental forces of the national sales meeting say, “you two may not be.” Not true. I will be with you even if I must wear damp socks or lie about my whereabouts tomorrow. For you, for you, I skitter-skatter in the dark.