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 My Soul Shrivels

by Carl Meinzinger

My head drops towards the steering wheel as my soul shrivels and drags me, inexorably, towards the fetal position. I give in to it; let it have me for a few minutes. Then I straighten up, resolved to attend this event, start my car, and drive to the auditorium. 
Settled into a seat, in the back and on the side, near the exit, I start peeling off clothes. It is hot in here, overheated to senior citizen temperature. 
The hour drags, I can barely pay attention to the program. All I can do is scan the room for her face. I look for her face in every crowd, her eyes in every face, her laughter it every conversation. Yet she is never there.
Release at last, the cool fresh air restores me. As drawn as I am to my bed, the pub is my next stop. The mingle of voices, a couple of drinks, and some conversation with a stranger, an acquaintance, the barmaid, that’s what I need.
As I near the pub I see a knot of people walking the sidewalk. She is in the middle, laying her hand lightly on someone’s arm, like she would do to me. With a flip of her head, she throw’s the hair from her face and laugh’s. I drive by anonymously, it’s home and sleep for me.