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Dignity


by Lou Godbold


Sunlight from the tall windows lies in diagonal bands across the parquet flooring. Monsieur Boulot stands in the white double doorway tying the belt of his Chinese silk robe. Margaux raises her head from the divan, blonde hair spilling over the brocade cushion as she leans on one elbow. Below, the sounds of an early walker click-clack beneath the leafy trees of the boulevard and through the open window. Margaux studies Monsieur Boulot, his balding head with the two strands of hair brushed in an arc from temple to temple, the pudgy hands leaning by their thumbs from his pockets, and the slightly upturned leather slippers.

“I have my dignity, you know,” he says.

She sighs and swings her legs off the divan. “You're right, mon petit,” she says, coming towards him. “I'll let myself out.”

With that and a brush of skirts against his robe, Margaux is gone.

Monsieur Boulot stands uncertainly in the doorway, allowing the cloud of scent to fall to the ground. He rues the infatuation that has left his Sunday morning shattered and with no way to fit back the shards to create some sort of meaning. He rues his fate and that of all old men who fall for fickle young women. “I have my dignity,” he repeats to the empty room, the birds outside chattering in derision.

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