MAVIS GOTTFRIED: Compassion

I saw that he looked truly miserable.
Maybe, I figured, he was disappointed
his job wasn’t getting him anywhere
after quite some years; men got that way,
I supposed. But his despair showed on him
worse and worse, and of course everyone
knows men are terrible about expressing
their feelings, so I said,

“Come on, Fred, tell me, what
is the tragedy? What’s going on?”
“You really want to know?” he asked.
“Of course. I’m your wife. Tell me.”
So he tells me the reason is,
his girlfriend, after five years,
decided to give him the air.
She left him flat.

“I’m so glad,” he said, “you wanted me
to tell you. Can you imagine how
it’s been eating me up inside?”
He told me this, standing in the kitchen
in a towel from his shower. At the time,
I was slicing some excellent tenderloin
for the boeuf bourgignon and noodles
I had thought would cheer him up.

I sliced away as I thought about
the pain poor Fred was experiencing
at the hand of some bitch I’d never heard of
before that moment. Slice, slice, slice,
through the juicy tenderloin.
He escaped into the hallway
just as I lunged.
Poor Fred.

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