A tall man with giant shoes sat down with the couple behind me on the train. He seemed to know the woman but not the short man she was traveling with.
A few minutes into the conversation the tall man said, “So is this the guy you were talking about four months ago that you were so in love with?”
I couldn’t believe he asked that. I turned around at this point to see the tall man’s face, just in case he really did put his foot in his mouth.
The woman giggled quickly and stated that she and her new man had just met. The short man laughed quietly (and by the way appeared to have trouble focusing on the conversation from then on). I think all four of us knew that there would be some post-train conversation about this former lover, whoever they were.
The tall man and the woman then swiftly tried to think of a new subject but it took them quite a few of the longest seconds we four had ever lived through.
Before they could move on, however, the tall man, trying to cover his tracks, told them that he had really bad hearing. He told them he must’ve heard it wrong, then pointed to his ear, the cursed thing.
To show how bad off he was, the tall man leaned in for the rest of the conversation. He turned his head to one side so that the good ear could absorb all of the conversation; just like I’d seen my grandparents do so many times before.
He stayed in character the remainder of the journey, never once pointing to his cursed mouth and the giant shoe sticking out of it.