Malcolm scribbled the words on to a napkin. He’d been staring through the middle of the ‘A’ of the Starbucks logon on the window for as long as it took him to drink a gingerbread latte and eat a cinnamon swirl. They were the first words that had come to him.
Not that they were bad words, now he looked at them.
He spoke them under his breath. He heard cadence and meter. They sounded even better than they looked.
Would these be the words that launched his career as a poet? Critics would gush over the lines that would flow from his fingertips. Women would melt when he spoke them aloud.
Starting with the girl at the next table, who was typing intently at her own laptop. Her sensible pony tail betrayed her as the passionate type. If she needed to keep her hair under such strict control, it was a symbol of how her passions threatened to cloud her judgement as her hair threatened to fall into her eyes.
The right words would unleash a torrent of passion as surely as removing her hair tie would unleash a golden cascade of hair. Words from a man who was surely destined to become laureate when his hair assumed a distinguished shade of silver.
Poets were men of the world. Poets knew such things.
All he needed was a rhyme for ‘season’.
‘Reason’, perhaps? Or ‘treason’? He liked the sound of treason. Now he just needed the rest of the line.
The blonde closed her laptop. She was about to leave. Malcolm was about to miss the chance to make her his first audience. He looked again at his solitary line. If it was only one line, it was a line of genius.
“Winter is the cruellest season.” He intoned the words as if he was so engrossed by his muse that he’d forgotten where he was.
The girl looked at him.
“Didn’t Eliot say April?” she asked.
Malcolm shut his mouth. It was emitting words that did not befit his new found vocation.
“TS Eliot,” she said. “The Wasteland. ‘April is the cruellest season’. Oh no, it was ‘April is the cruellest month’, wasn’t it.”
“I love Eliot. So original”, she said.
Malcolm had read The Wasteland years ago. His subconscious must have mangled the line and slipped them between him and the creativity he was trying to get in touch with.
Was that why the word ‘treason’ had occurred to him? His subconscious had been warning him of its own treachery?
He watched the girl’s pony tail dance up and down as she carried her unruly passions away from him.
He screwed up the napkin and dumped it in his empty gingerbread latte cup.