The Interview – Part II

Interviewer: (Smiles to himself.)

Me: What?

Interviewer: I get in now.

Me: (A mischievous grin lifts my cheeks, and I glance away.)

Interviewer: Oh…don’t play the shy roll now.

Me: But I’m so good at it.  (My response is purposefully coy.)

Interviewer: So, am I the clown?

Me: (A full grin now dons my face.)  I have no idea what you mean.

Interviewer: (Laughs a little then squints his eyes.  He’s trying to search my thoughts.  Finding nothing to grab onto, he pushes his impromptu interview forward.)  Alright, you win…for now.

Me: I graciously accept your surrender, sir.

Interviewer: Back to the question I’ve been dying to ask…Why the change of tone?  Why so dark now?

Me: That’s exactly the key.

Interviewer:  How so?  Which part?

Me: Questions.  (My eyes sweep across the bustling café scene.)  Some people see the world in pictures, some in prose, other in rhythms, or even dollars or Euros.  But, all I see are questions.  And now, I want answers.

Interviewer: Does this mean no more fairy tale endings?

Me: (Smirks.)  That’s not what I said.  I want to find out what really makes the human heart beat.  Why do sad love songs stir up old, long-forgotten emotions?  Why don’t we really love the person we’re with until they tell us that this is the last good-bye?  Why is it that when I hurt so badly, immediately afterward, I feel so much more alive than ever before?

Interviewer: (Silence.  I can read his thoughts, and his eyes reflect him reliving these exact defining moments I have just described.)

Me: I want to deconstruct romance.  Break it into fragments that I can understand…feel…accept as real, not just whimsical, wishful fantasy.  When I pull it all back together, I want the picture finally to make sense.

Interviewer: (More silence.)

Me: (Sips more of the liquid salve from the cup I am clutching.  This isn’t the first time my random thoughts and theories have left someone bewildered and speechless.)

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The Interview – Part I

Interviewer: Superman or Batman?

Me: How do you mean?

Interviewer: As a love interest.  You know…you’re favorite hero…

Me: Oh, I see. (Sips from an over-sized coffee cup.) Hm…neither.

Interviewer: Really?  You don’t fancy either?  That’s a shock.  Most women would love to be Lois for a day.

Me: (Smirks slightly.) I’m not most women. Besides…Isn’t she always on someone’s hit list because of her boyfriend?

Interviewer: (Shifts slightly in his cushioned no-name coffee-shop chair.) True. (Looks down at his notepad then taps a few keystrokes before returning eye contact.) So…I’m still curious, why wouldn’t you pick either of them?

Me: (Rolls eyes.) They’re both terrible boring.

Interviewer: How so? (Stops typing and presses his palm against his face.)

Me: Well.  (Turns head to watch a couple walk past the store window.  Neither is speaking to the other.  Both are frantically thumb-typing onto dark rectangular boxes gripped between steady palms.) Superman has his righteousness, and Batman has his vengeance.

Interviewer:  And?

Me: And that’s it. There’s nothing else going on in their lives.  Their paths are already set.  Neither of them really needs a woman by his side.

Interviewer: (Leans slightly to the left to catch my attention once more.) I don’t get it.  Please explain a little more of your theory.

Me: A hero is exactly that. (Takes another huge gulp of cream-only caramel-mocha coffee.) There is no room for change.  He or she has a job that requires their complete and utter focus all day, every day.  Self-discovery is only for the purpose of becoming a better hero, not a better person.  Love becomes an inconvenience that they must bear in order to appear normal to the masses.

Interviewer: (Raises both eyebrows slightly.) Am I speaking with the right person? (A scoff hovers in his voice.)  Is this the same Lenise Lee who once thrived on drafting dime-store-rated romance novellas? Who once wrote that she is (uses crooked-fingers to mimic quoting.) ‘in love with being in love’?

Me: (Unblinking.) One and the same.

Interviewer:  So what has changed?

Me: Everything. (Glances at the table across from us.  The couple from outside are now seated there, and their thumbs are still hammering away.  Five minutes have passed and neither has uttered anything more than an order to the waitress.)

Interviewer: (Touches the outside of my hands and presses them firmly against the cup I am holding.) Don’t leave me hanging. (His voice does a great impression of sounding sincere.) Tell me what happened to cause this huge one-eighty.

Me: (My gut reaction is to jerk away, but I hold steady.  I’ve seen this look on men’s faces before.  It’s my eyes.  Dark and mysterious.  Men seem to be drawn in like moths to a flame, which is why I never hold eye contact for too long.  This time I let my guard down and here is the result.  I smile a friendly, non-committal grin then casually move my hands away and fold them under my chin.) Well, if you really want to know…I went in search of a knight in shining armor and all I ever found were harlequins.

Interviewer:  (He blinks his eyes and then shifts back in his chair. The spell is broken.  It’s as clear as a blue sky that he’s never heard of that word before, and I do nothing to help explain the term.) Hm. Okay.  (Soon, he’s typing again, and I know that he’s trying to Google that term.  The conversation comes to an abrupt end, and I go back to people watching.)