Minor Surgery

It�s not a matter of �want� but what has to be done, because. Because.

We were sitting in the coffee shop across the street from the building we had an eleven o’clock appoint at. It was ten-thirty. We sipped coffee.
“Look at that,” she said.
“What?”
She pointed at a painting on the wall. It was a painting of two white elephants grazing in lush grass; several hills were in the background. The hills were green like all hills should be.
“I like it,” she said; “it’s nice.”
“It’s nice.”
“Where do you think they are?”
“Who?”
“The elephants, the white elephants,” she said, “do you think they’re in Africa?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are you even listening to me?”
“Of course,” I said.
“Are you paying attention?” she asked.
“I’m sorry.”
“What’s going on?”
“Are you sure about this,” I said. “Are we sure about this? Is this what we want to do?”
“I’m sure about it. It’s not a matter of ‘want’ but what has to be done, because. Because.”
“Because,” I said.
“Because we’re not ready,” she said. “Because we’re too poor. We couldn’t do this right if we did it. When I want to do it,” she said, “I want to be ready. I don’t want to be poor.”
“…sorry.”
“Look at it this way,” she said, and took my hand, “after, we’ll be happy.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Because we won’t be worried; this won’t be hanging over our heads.”
“But…”
“…”
“Are you…”
“It’s only minor surgery,” she said, rolling he eyes. “It’s nothing really.”
We sat there and drank coffee.
She asked, “What time is it?”
I said, “It’s almost time.”
“Let’s go then.”
We held hands as we crossed the street.
A car honked at us.
“People,” I said.
“There are too many people in the world,” she said, “that is why…that is why.”
“I know,” I said.
We walked inside the building, went to the office on the third floor. There were men and women sitting and waiting.
“I can go with you, if you want me to,” I said.
“I’ll be asleep,” she said. “Unless you want to watch.”
“I can’t,” I said.
“I’ll be back soon,” she said.
I sat down and picked up a magazine.
She returned forty-five minutes later.
“How are you?” I asked.
“A little groggy.”
“Are you okay?”
“I’m just fine.”
“What do you want to do now?”
She said, “Let’s go across the street, I could use a coffee.” She said, “We can sit down and drink and look at the white elephants.”
“The white elephants,” I said.
“Grazing in the grass, in Africa,” she said, “and happy doing it,” she said.

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