My therapist says love goes beyond mere sensual pleasure, but she doesn’t eat baby squid from Vogliano’s with butter and garlic every Wednesday. If she did she’d drop her doctorate in the trash.
“So this food is the only thing you feel you love?”
“Is that weird? I mean, it makes me happy.”
“It’s natural to love what, or who, makes you happy.”
“No who for me, please.”
She nods without moving any part of her face.
“You prefer to be alone.”
“Prefer? I don’t know what I prefer. A fried cephalopod with crunchy tentacles.”
She leans back in her chair, steeples her fingers. Her eyes are a tenth the size of a giant squid’s.
“Other people—family, friends. How do you feel about them?”
I test Dr. Lane’s comfort with silence. When I’ve run out the clock she says, “Enjoy your dinner, Mr. Calaway.”
I want to explain that it’s more than a meal—it’s a marine bonanza. But instead I hustle my way to 2nd Ave, avoiding the blight of Bellevue Hospital, and choose my companions for the evening.
“Prego, un chilo di calamari.”
Nailed the accent. The old woman wraps two-point-two comforting pounds in a plastic sack.
“Grazie a Dio!”
“Non, non importa.”
Into the dusk with my mollusks.