So I am in this amazing study, right, and it’s just lined with books. I am running my fingers along the spines, not even looking at the titles really – it’s the overall feel of them that tells you all you need to know. And he is sitting just over there, in that leather armchair, barely visible through the smoke. I don’t mind the smoke – it’s from a pipe, or a cigar maybe, take your pick. He’s got that look in his eye, I just know it – you know the one – a smoldering sparkle just ready to burst into flame. I can tell even if I am not looking at him. I pretend to look at the books.
But sooner or later we are going to have to talk and it will be me that has to say something, we both know this. Why would he say anything? He is the one all comfortable in that chair. All smug with the world revolving around his finger. The weight of the room tells me this, the feel of all those spines tells me this. Even the smoke tells me, intoxicating me with its sweet strength. I am the one who is light, who barely leaves a mark on the thick carpet as I circle the room. I am the one who might bend or break. He knows this, is sure of this, and so can just watch through the smoke as I let my hand caress those spines.
My circling has taken me to the dark corner behind his chair. And although the leather back of it is high and its arms curve wide to embrace him, I reach around and take the pipe (although I think it’s a cigar) from his mouth. He likes this. He thinks it’s a game. It’s not just his eyes that are sparkling now. This is a game he likes to play, has played before, and wins every time. Why talk when you can play this game? But I don’t want to play this little game anymore. There are rules I want to bend and break.
So instead of straddling his lap, and replacing the pipe (it’s definitely a cigar) with my lips, and letting him win, I walk over to the other armchair in the room (they are a pair), and I make myself comfortable with one leg draped over the side, and I take a long deep pull on that pipe-that-is-a-cigar and after exhaling that sweet strong smoke I say, “Karl, we need to talk.”