On Not Being Pat

She entered the café. Our eyes met for three seconds past casual. She was gorgeous.

“Are you Pat?”

I studied my latte. What if I said yes? We’d talk. We’d fall in love, marry, start a family. Then a deathbed confession and plea for forgiveness–I didn’t even know Pat! –but she’d have already fled the room for her lawyer. The priest would murmur, “Only God offers true forgiveness.”

Then Pat swaggered in. He spotted her and pointed to an empty table. She walked away, only looking back when I sighed in relief. He’d saved me a lifetime of trouble!


“On Not Being Pat” received an honorable mention in the Sebastopol Center for the Arts’In a Breath” contest and was published in West Word, vol. 1 (2000). A longer version appears in Geoffrey’s Air Conditioning & Other Pleasures.