THE SUN was coming down through the trees across the street from the cafe. The wind was blowing through the street and rattling the chairs which had been set outside. Inside you could not hear the wind nor feel how cold the wind was and it felt warm and not anything like the winter outside. It really wasn't winter anymore but spring. The American knew it. His girl sat inside the cafe and also knew it. He sat with her and waited because her train wasn't leaving until twelve. The young couple finished their first drinks while looking in silence out of the windows across the few passing cars and into the park.
"Looks so nice there doesn't it"
"Doesn't look cold at all," she said.
"Except for the wind."
"Yes, except for wind."
"We could have sat in the park if you wanted."
"No, I think that it too cold for me."
"But if you wanted."
"No. This is just fine."
"It is so nice looking. The park, with sun and trees and benches."
"I used to read there a lot a few years ago."
"You did?" she said.
"Yes, when it was warmer and quiet in the mornings."
"It would've been fun to take a child there."
He stopped looking out the window and looked at her face. It was warm and soft and very pretty in the dim lights. She had a smooth almond color and her dark hair fell against it and looked very nice to the American. The waitress came over and asked them for another drink. He ordered a Jim Beam on the rocks again and she ordered another glass of wine. It was still very early in the day and the girl always drank white wine when it was this early.
"Wouldn't a park be nice with kids?" she started again.
"I wouldn't know," he said.
"But it could be."
"Yes I suppose."
"It would be nice."
"Haven't you seen them play?"
"Sometimes, yes. When I used to try and read there."
"It would be fun."
“It could be fun.”
"What would you do with them?"
"Play with them. Watch them. Talk to them too."
"Yes," he said and sipped the whiskey.
"Playing would be so much fun."
"You could do that with a dog you know"
"But you could."
“Yes, but you could you know.”
“You can't smile with dog."
"Some dogs smile."
"No they don't."
"I saw one in Washington Square one time."
"He was coming out of the dog run, and I swore he was smiling."
"Shut up. You not clever."
"You are awful. Do you know that you real awful."
"Drink your wine."
"Do you know that you really very awful to me many times?"
"No but I have heard it before."
“You don’t like dogs either.”
"Well you are. And it isn't good to be so awful."
"I am sorry then."
"No, you not sorry."
"Ok, I guess I am not then."
"Sure. I see a lot. Now drink your wine."
The place was empty. Later it would be filled with people coming in for the lunch and perhaps a lot of the hot soup. Outside the wind was picking up and making things worse for his walk home. The park was still very warm looking with the sun coming down through the trees and laying down over the wooden benches lining the black fences which wrapped in the park.
"You know if I really wanted it, I would have had it."
"I know," he said and drank the whiskey.
"I really will have one when I want,” she said.
"I know you will."
"And I will."
"Sure you will," he said and drank the rest of the whiskey down.
"Of course you can."
"But why now then?"
"Because you know this is the best way."
"I don't think you really care about it."
"Listen," he started in and then stopped. "It really is the only thing."
"But we could be in the park. Wouldn't that be so much fun?"
"Sure. But now we can have all of this," he said and pointed at the table.
"All of a bar?"
"All of everything that we have. Just the two of us without any of the complications."
"What is so complicated about going to a park?"
"Nothing is so simple."
"But it could be."
“I know it could.”
“I only care about you.”
“But it is me.”
“No it isn’t. It never will be. You are you.”
"It can be simple," she said and grabbed his hand.
"No nothing ever is."
"It could be."
"Some things are simple, I guess," he said.
"Yes. See," she smiled.
“Drinking can be simple.”
"Too bad everything isn't like drinking."
"I would drink iced tea with my little child in the park. Or lemonade."
"That wouldn't be bad."
"See, like they do in Central Park in that painting."
"But things aren't so simple."
"Sure they are," she said and smiled as she stared out the window and into the streets. The wind was picking up and the chairs were rattling together.
"But doesn't the park look so lovely when it is warm?"
"Yes, if it were warm we could sit there," he said
"And it could be ours."
"It can be ours now."
"No, now we are just lovers who sit there and kiss," she said.
"And it is ours."
"No. We just use it."
Later the waitress brought the couple another round and the two sat and drank in silence and he watched her sip on her wine and the way she left her lipstick on the glass and how lovely she really did look in the brightening light coming in from the street. The cafe was still empty and he thought about really nothing or tried to think about nothing as she drank her wine and they looked out of the window. Then the American started to think about her family and what they would have done about this had it gone her way and the way they would hate him even more than they already did. He thought about the way her father wouldn't shake his hand anymore nor bow and wouldn't smile and wouldn't like a damn thing about him anymore for the rest of his life and how this would somehow be all of his fault. He thought about the small apartment of hers. She never liked sleeping there and if it went her way it would be gone and perhaps that would make her father happy to now not be paying for her expensive American apartment down in Chelsea and how she would want to move in with him. He had a big sip of the whiskey at that. But as he thought about this, he thought and then knew real hard that this really had had nothing to do with anything about the operation.
"What time is it?"
"You know I took one of your car magazine with the red car on it for the ride. You don't mind?"
"I'm done with it. It’s an ok one too."
"There is a nice article in the back about the rookies in Formula One."
"Maybe I won’t read. Just wanted something of yours."
"So we leave now?"
"We can have one more drink."
"Good. I was having so much fun looking at the park."
She finished her wine and he motioned for the waitress.
"Are you having the same?," his girl asked.
"Let's drink something the same now," he said.
"No, we should have beer."
The waitress said they only had two kinds of bottled beer since they were still unloading the rest. He ordered two Dos XX's and paid the check.
"What you order?"
"Oh, any good?"
"Yes, smooth. You’ll like it. And it’ll make your trip less sleepy than wine."
"I like the sleep."
"It will make it pleasant."
"If you say so."
"I'll see if they posted the track."
The American headed back out of the cafe through the rear where it opened up to the bathrooms and passed through the dark corridor that led out and into the main lobby of the train station. The times were posted on a big board downstairs and he took the escalator down and saw that her train was on time and would leave from track 17 which was on the main floor. On the way back, he passed through the bar of the cafe. It was empty except for two business men sitting at the far end drinking over some papers. He wanted something hard like rye but knew they didn't have it so instead he ordered a Jack Daniels straight and leaned up against the bar to drink it. It tasted good and warm and not as soft as the Jim Beam with ice which he had been drinking all morning. It was sweeter and hotter and tasted good to him in the silence of the bar. He watched the waitresses moving back in the kitchen and started to drift off for a minute but the whiskey brought him back as he finished the last half in one big gulp of it and put the glass down.
"Your train is right on time," he told her back at the table. "And it leaves from the main floor."
"Took a while."
"Sorry, dear. Let's have these beers."
"I already start you know."
"It pretty good. Not like Corona at all. Much better."
"I like it."
"I am glad."
"Cheers,” she said and tapped her bottle with his. “It fun to drink same thing."
"I thought it would be nice."
"Yes,” she said. “I don't know how you drink that other stuff. It so awful. Even the smell."
"It’s very good too."
"I no understand. Drinking should not hurt."
"It’s good to feel something once in a while."
"I feel my beer just fine."
"It isn't the same."
"I don't see why need it to hurt."
"It is just part of it."
"Dizzy is bad enough for me."
"That is very cute."
"Thank you. So now, will you miss me?"
"Yes,” he said.
“Good. You sure?”
"I always do."
"Even after this?"
"But you don't have to."
"Ok, but you don't have to. I like you to enjoy yourself."
“You sure you miss me?”
“Yes don’t even have to think about it.”
"But you don't have to. I want you to enjoy yourself."
"Ok. And I will enjoy myself."
"I know you will. You will be happy alone and sitting in your park reading and not thinking about anything we talk about."
The American went quiet and then looked at their park.
"I don't want to think about it."
"But think about me," she said.
"I don't need to."
"I am sorry I have this trip now."
"But see how good and simple we can be."
"We are trying."
"With the same drinks. See, it can be so simple."
The sun wasn't coming through the trees anymore. It was pouring down on the street in front of the window and made the chairs in front of the cafe look very warm. The sky was clear and the park was starting to fill up with people walking through on their way to lunch and the street was filled with taxis and buses. The wind had stopped blowing and people were moving in and out of the shops. It was still very cold outside and he knew he would have a long, cold and happy walk home if the wind didn't blow too hard. They finished the beers, left the tip and he grabbed her bag and they walked on towards the escalator.
"Will it still be so cold when I get back?"
"I hope not."
"Me too. It should feel like spring already."
"It will be nice when you get back."
"Why so cold?" she asked.
"They say it means a hotter summer."
"I really hope so," she said.
"So do I."
"And we will be hot and simple."
"I really hope so."