That is to the best of my recollection the speech he gave on the night he resigned. No one had really ever given any thought to his position. He had always fulfilled his duties quietly and conscientiously. There was no perceivable need for him to resign, nor to stand up during the town’s annual harvest jamboree and hold forth like that. And no one knew who his supposed beloved might be. He had been single for years and years and –; well, the whole thing was just kind of weird. But not out of keeping with his style, which was generally considered to be either eccentric or original — depending on one’s sympathies.
Then of course he left town and someone else took over his post. After the speech no one clapped or anything. Some people walked up to him and said they were sorry to hear he was resigning (from this relatively unimportant and generally overlooked job [I think some of his well-wishers didn’t know what he was even resigning from]), but they wished him all the best. A few of those closer to him — myself included — inquired as to what his next steps might be, to which he replied with only a somber wide-melancholy smile and the slightest of browbeaten nods.
I don’t know, but I bought him a glass of wine and talked about this and that, nothing much. I didn’t dare ask who he loved or if he believe that she perhaps returned the affection. Nor could I bring myself to touch on any detail of that somewhat jarring and largely confusing speech. I could tell that he had admitted everything he could admit to us in the speech itself, that there was nothing more he was able to say to any of us about his perception of his own life or life in general.
He was a nice guy. He didn’t have any very close friends. When he left, everyone continued as they were. No one left town when he did. Does that mean his love didn’t love him back? Or was he speaking across time and space to her? Was he calling out to her from the only perch he had, though she was a million miles away? Maybe he’d not yet met her. Maybe he just felt her all over his flesh and through that pulp that fills one’s inner space — through his heart/mind/soul/FIRE.
I don’t know. I don’t know. The incident lingers though the man is lost to us.
Author: Montgomery T. Albuquerque