The Man With The Truth on His Face

Sycamore took a swig of her beer.

“Hey Syc, how was the presentation?” asked her friend Elsie, her boyfriend Carlton’s arm wrapped around her shoulder.

“It was terrible,” she groaned as she thought about it. “Let’s talk about something else.” She took another swig.

“Check out that man over there, in the corner of the bar,” she gestured with her left elbow, since she was holding her mug with her left hand. The other two glanced in the general direction her elbow was pointing.

“What about him?”

The man was sitting alone at the corner table. Just adjacent to him were two other parties of friends, drinking and laughing. But he just sat there, not really looking at anything, sipping his beer through a straw. He sported a grizzled white beard, that looked like it was untidily shaven a couple of days ago. His clothes looked like they hadn’t been washed in longer. The hem of his jeans were frayed, and he wore a pair of black boots worn out at the toes, such that they were a lighter shade of black than the rest of the boots.

“Who uses a straw to drink beer?” Carlton scoffed.

“Yeah who does,” said Sycamore distractedly. “That’s not the point. Can’t you see it?”

“What, Syc?”

“He has that look on his face…like he knows the meaning of life, and it scares the hell out of him.”

“How would you know how that look looks like?” asked Elsie.

“I can tell,” said Sycamore. “Let’s go talk to him.”

“You crazy?” Carlton cried. Before her two friends could protest further, Sycamore had stood up and strode towards the man’s table. The man’s gaze did not shift to the lady who was approaching him.

Sycamore pulled out the chair and sat down opposite the man. “Hello, old feller,” she said.

The man’s eyes slowly turned towards her, but he remained silent.

“How you’re doing?” she asked him.

The old man spoke. “You’re not tryin’ to pick me up, are ye, young lady?”

Sycamore laughed. “Got a sense of humour there, old man.”

“A more important sense than some of the five, it is,” he nodded. “Then why you come here for, milady?”

“I was wondering,” she said, “if you might have any idea, of what is the meaning of life? You see, I was just telling my friends over there -” she pointed with her right thumb at her two friends back at the table, staring at her, “- that you looked like you know something, something important about why we are all here for, and if you do, what would that be?”

The old man fixed his eyes on Sycamore’s. For ten seconds. Without saying anything.

Then he spoke. “I don’t claim to know, but over the years of life I’ve lived on this earth, I’ve definitely learnt one or two things. And maybe, since you’ve been so nice, I can share them one or two things with yer.”

Sycamore waited expectantly.

End of story? Or To Be Continued? Frankly, I have no idea.




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