He entered the cafe where he liked to while away his time, listening to his own thoughts. He drained a glass of cognac and continued to wash down the coffee, from time to time being greedily tightened  a cigarette.

“May I sit here?” an apologizing voice was heard.

“Yes, sure,” Al answered indifferently,  shipped in his own thoughts. He somehow fixedly stared at the stranger whose face was familiar to him. It was a full-faced fat man with surprisingly kind eyes. They introduced themselves.

George told about himself. He is a successful businessman. He has an adult son and a daughter. Having learned that Al is the artist, George pensively said: “I’m envying you!”

“You’re envying me?” Al asked with amazement. “On my income you can’t do much, they depend on sale of my pictures which nobody buys sometimes. Business is the other issue! You are able to afford a lot of things! I’m, in turn was always envying the pragmatic people.”

“Maybe you are right. But there is an element of everyday routine in my work. And there is a wish for eternal updating, there is a wish to create! Here you told that I am able to afford a lot of things. Yes, it is so in respect of material acquisitions. But in the moral relation it is not so,” George deeply sighed and his chubby face, exhaling pleasure of life amazingly quickly was replaced by grief. It looked a little comically, and Alex has smiled, tactfully waiting.

“We are with Sophie twenty years together,” George continued, having confidentially bent forward. “But recently she is more and more moving away from me. You forgive me Alex, that I so opened my heart, but there is something conducive in you!

Al gratefully nodded, but George as if without having noticed it continued emotionally.

“I thought that this physical and spiritual alienation is the natural process in long, joint life and the period of recession in our relations is a temporary phenomenon as well. But the situation hasn’t changed. And lately I have got acquainted with a woman who became an embodiment of all my physiological and spiritual needs! I’m at the crossroads!”

“Oh, my friend! How it’s familiar to me! It looks like as if you’re showing me the fragments of my own life!” Al dropped.

“Really?” the face of the fat man began to shine again, as if a round sun in drawings of kids. He imperiously raised a chubby finger, calling up the cute waitress in the short, checkered skirt baring her beautiful opaque legs. George ordered two more glasses of cognac, despite of Al’s protests.


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