Also Tesla

“My name is Nikola,” he says, his voice touched by a thick accent, something Eastern European that I can’t pinpoint. “Like the inventor, Tesla.”

“Do you work much with electricity, Nikola?” I ask.

“Hardly, no. I make things, but electricity isn’t usually involved other than to keep the lights on over my head. Please,” he says, gesturing at the chair opposite him. “Sit down. Join me for lunch.”

“I’ve already got a plate at my table…”

“Ah, such sadness.”

“… which means that you should come and join me,” I finish.

“Ah, a much better idea,” he says. He leaves his table, takes his cup of coffee and follows me back to my table. “So,” he says once we both sit. “I’m pleased you came and introduced yourself. A lunch alone is never as pleasant as one with a beautiful woman.”

“And here I thought I was the one being forward,” I say.

“Oh please, do not misunderstand me, I meant no offense. I just prefer to speak the things on my mind rather than hold them close to the chest. So much of life is spent dancing around the meanings of what one is actually wanting to say. I find it saves time to just say what I mean.”

“In that case, I should say that I wanted to talk with you the moment you came in.”

“I’m glad to have caught your interest.” He points at his upper lip. “It’s the mustache, I’m sure. It’s definitely my best feature.”

“It’s the whole picture,” I say. “Although it is a very lovely mustache at that.”

“Ah,” he says, and leans back in his chair, holding both hands up at shoulder level, palms facing me. “An old girlfriend made me start wearing it like this. The girlfriend now, she is gone, but the mustache remains. I am a little more attached to it than I was to her, it seems.”

“I’m sorry to hear it,” I say.

“Oh, I’m not. Some people, they are made more like shooting stars than orbiting moons, yes? She came along, she burned very brightly for a short time, and then the love burned out. It’s nothing to have regret over. It was quite beautiful while it lasted, but the memories of these loves are sometimes better to keep than the real thing.”

“I’ve had some experience with that sort of romance, and I can’t say that I disagree with your opinion.”

He smiles and shrugs. “My mother always said that I was a smart boy. Perhaps there is a bit of truth to it.” He nods at my salad plate. “Please, eat your salad. My lunch will be coming shortly, I am sure.”

I spear a cherry tomato on my fork and pop it into my mouth. “Where are you from, Nikola? I can’t place your accent.”

“Ah, much like Tesla again, I am from Serbia. I am fairly certain that there is where our similarities end. And you?” he asks. “Are you from Japan?”

“No,” I say. “My grandfather was, and my father lived there when he was a small boy, but I was born in Oregon.”

“Oregon is a lovely place. I have never lived there, but I’ve driven through it several times. So many trees. I am very fond of forests, I must say.”

“So am I. I may move back there some day.”

“Ah, well, it’s very expensive to live here. My apartment is very small and costs more than should be legal. It’s very hard work to keep up in this city. Do you live in the city or in the suburbs someplace?”

“I have a house near here.”

“A house! How can you afford one here? Are you doing anything illegal to supplement your income? Do you need an assistant perhaps?”

I smile. “No, nothing illegal. The house was my grandfather’s, and when he died it went to my father, and when my father died it went to me. Although I didn’t know anything about it until my father’s will was read.”

“So it was a surprise then?”

“Sometimes it’s still a surprise,” I say.

“I can only imagine. I’ve never owned a home myself, but I’ve also never stayed anywhere long enough to really need one. I am a gypsy, yes? A traveling man.”

“Are you traveling anywhere soon?”

“No plans just now.”

I take a pen from my bag and put my phone number on a napkin.

“In that case, we should have lunch again.”

He takes the napkin from me and puts it into his pocket. “Or dinner, perhaps.”

“Yes, dinner would be nice,” I say.

“Lucky for you I am a gypsy with a cell phone.”

“Lucky for you I love a nice mustache.”

He grins. “I would say there is more than enough luck to go around in this city.”

“Sometimes,” I say. “Sometimes for certain.”

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4 Comments

  1. Oooo, Nikola is delicious! I can hear his voice perfectly.

    “I am a gypsy, yes? A traveling man.” LOVE that!

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  January 22, 2012

      Did I mention that he is tall?

      And broad?

      And I could fit both of my hands in one of his?

      Delicious indeed!

      Reply
  2. Who doesn’t love the exotic? Very much enjoying your site!

    -B

    Reply
    • Kameko

       /  March 13, 2012

      There is so much in the world that is mundane and commonplace.

      I do like a few things now and again that stand out in all their mustachioed glory.

      And I’m glad you’re enjoying your look around!

      Reply

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