26th July
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The Sneer

‘I wish you wouldn’t sneer like that,’ Alex Mather said.

‘I am not sneering,’ Jill Mather replied.

‘You are too. Just hold that look right there and take it to a mirror and tell me it’s not a sneer.’

‘It’s not a sneer.’

‘You haven’t checked. I’m on the receiving end of it and from where I’m
sitting it’s a sneer.’ He pointed to the back of the restaurant. ‘The Ladies is down there.’

‘I am not going to check how I look to you in a mirror. Perhaps you should check how you look.’

‘I’m not interested in how I look. Never have been.’

‘Well, let me tell you, you look ridiculous.’

‘That would explain the sneer. Simply because I utilise an object to illustrate an opinion which you dislike, you sneer.’

‘It is not a sneer. If it’s anything it’s a look of incomprehension. Because I don’t understand where you’re coming from, Alex. I don’t know what’s going on inside your head.’

‘My inner life. That’s what’s going on.’

‘Just the one? I don’t think so. And not so inner either. They tend to get out a lot.’

‘And you find that what? Embarrassing?’

‘Sometimes. But mostly just incomprehensible.’

‘Yet you never seem surprised. “You don’t fool me” is one of your common expressions. Reconcile that with “incomprehensible”. When did I first become incomprehensible to you? Was I incomprehensible when we were courting, for example?’

‘When we were courting? Excuse me while I lubricate the padlocks and blow the dust off the box files. Actually, don’t bother, I can remember. Back then you were slightly strange. Mysterious even.’

‘Same thing as incomprehensible.’

‘Not at all.’

‘Aye it is. Mysterious is good, though. You should try to think of me as mysterious. Intriguing. That might help.’

‘Help who? You or me?’

‘Help take the sneer off your face. Create an aura around me.’

‘I tell you what, Alex. I’ll take the so-called sneer off my face if you take the serviette that you claim represents the absurdity of organised religion off your head. Then perhaps we can enjoy our food. Is that a deal?’

‘I crumple my mitre before your infinite wisdom,’ Alex said.

Reader: Tam Dean Burn
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Harmonium and Piano: Kit Downes
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