Expressions

The Gentleman: a poem

By LING LIN
Staff Writer

‘Excuse me, may I sit here?’
I look up and see a young man pointing at the seat across from mine.
I tell him I am waiting for someone,
and my indifference implies he should better move away.
‘I am sorry.’ The man nods
and begins to move around the café house
until he finds an empty seat next to a family.
He looks careful and worried,
as if he is made of glass and will shatter if touched.
He orders a Cappuccino and a bagel,
then a child sitting next to him spills his plastic cup
and the orange juice splashes onto him.
Everyone becomes nervous: the man, the waitress and the family.
When the parents ask him what can they do,
he keeps saying he’s fine
and his face turns red as he wipes his suit with a napkin.
The man looks pained as more and more customers look at him.
Finally, he stands up and wipes his suit one last time;
his hands are shaking.
‘I am sorry.’
‘I am sorry, everybody…’
He takes out some money for his order
and quickly leaves the house with his head down.
The Cappuccino and the bagel are untouched.

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