I wasn't expecting him, and I asked if he hadn't gone off on vacation.
"Something urgent happened, so I couldn't." He grinned.
In the middle of a game of squash, my teacher had to run off to get a phone call. When he came back he was even more jollier and more bouncy than before. 9-2, 9,4 and he exited the court with a short, "good game!" behind smiling glasses and a wide smile. He's one of those people whose outward happiness varies by the inverse square of his inner turmoil. After we shook hands, I noticed the unsmiling, stoic faces of everyone else around us. A 'stuck' face, they call it. He left shortly after five.
Nobody fully notices breaking glass, especially if it isn't theirs. In restaurants, you can occasionally hear the shattering of a cup that slipped or a unbalanced plate that fell, coming from the loosely closed doors of the kitchen. If you happen to be lucky enough not to be caught in the instinct to look, you can see dozens of heads swivel in unison towards the source of the sound. Its as if someone dangled a fresh fish in front of a group of cats and meowed. Everyone watches. Personally, I find the instant to be infinitely comic. If you're lucky enough, you can even catch the expressions on faces. Shocked ones, droopy-eyed ones, mouths half closed over a fork, waiters serving food, cashiers giving out devilishly uneven change after an 0.05% sales tax. An instant lull in conversation. Its as if someone cut the film and replaced it with a one-second shot of everyone looking sideways. No one talks about breaking glass. NO ONE. A passing comment or joke suffices, and then everyone returns to the previous topic.
I remember an comic explaning the phrase, 'mixed feelings'. It showed a boy wavering between two tubs of strawberry ice-cream and banana ice-cream. What if your flavor is strawberry-banana? This all seems like a giant drain, in tornadic swirls that make loud sucking noises. Counterclockwise, is it? Nowhere but downwards. Inwards.