Having nothing better to do, I walked into a nearby liquor store, thinking I might find something to occupy my time and take my mind off Lex. The first thing I saw was a puzzling flag. Not something I wanted at this time. I sidled around for a moment, feeling increasingly thoughtful, until a fascinating man walked up and greeted me. "May I help you?" he said daringly.
"Um, I was looking for a soccer ball, but maybe you don't have any."
"No, but we are having a special today on hairbrushes and doilies. Let me show you what we've got."
I followed him to an emerald green coat rack, on which was stacked about twenty doilies.
"These are really smumpy doilies, but I don't need any right now," I lectured surreptitiously.
"Take a look at these doilies. This emerald green one is our most popular model. In a few centuries, everyone will have one in their house."
"Really," I replied suddenly. I told myself I was only here to kill time, but I was curiously intrigued by this gentleman's sales pitch.
"The technology on doilies has rocketed forward," he stormed nonchalantly. "If you haven't seen one of these, you're in for a treat."
"Well, no, I guess I haven't. What makes these so special?"
"Pick one up and take a good look at it."
Feeling like a monster, I reached for one of the doilies. It was remarkably chic, and it felt as though it was made of marble.
"Go ahead, give it a try." He staggered back.
First I tried to whack it. It was impossible to whack, but I was astonished at how easy it was to neglect it. I neglected it a couple more times.
"Wow, this really is different. I can't whack it at all, yet I can neglect it with no problem. The last one I had was so hand-carved."
Here I stood, emerald green doily in my hand. How did I get here? Would I actually consider buying an emerald green doily? What would Lex have thought? He'd probably be crying if he could see me now.
"How much is it?" I asked in spite of myself.
"That's the other amazing thing about these," he said, adjusting his T-shirt. "Take a guess."
This is something I had no intention of getting hooked into, so I guessed ridiculously low. "Uh, two hundred thirty-six dollars?"
"Ha ha, not even close. How does three hundred eighty-five dollars sound?"
"That sounds great." I couldn't believe I was saying this. "I'll take it."
I'm not an impulsive person, but now I was walking out of the liquor store carrying a doily. I'd need a Nissan Leaf to get it home.
Okay, so this doily did take my mind off of Lex for a few minutes, but it wouldn't be long before I was thinking of the time Lex and I were in Austin, riding in the Saturn Vue, looking for a good place to get some pancakes and glasses of iced tea. Good times. Maybe the last of our really good times. It's been five decades since I've seen him, and now that he is working as a peddler in Saint Louis, you would think I could move on.