The Brothers Lament

Scene: Tessa, a small restaurant on the upper westside of Manhattan with an industrial decor, softened with wood flourishes.

Characters: James, a blue collar man in his mid-50’s

William, his older brother, an executive in his very early 60’s

The maitre d’ sits them at a small table for two along a wall. There are tables to either side with couples already enjoying their meals. The brothers make small talk, as the wine steward waits to pour a full glass.

William: Yes, that’s quite good.

The steward pours and exits.

James: You look like a pretentious prick swishing the wine in your mouth like that.

William: I took a two month course after I retired. I’m now a third level sommelier.

James: You’re making my point. You forget we’re only two generations away from sheep shagging in the bogs of County Kerry.

William: My forbears never shagged shee….

James: They shagged the shit out of those sheep. What else did they have to do?

William: You’re particularly prickly today. Aren’t you happy to see me? We don’t see each other much.

James: I’m very glad to see you, Billy, especially since you’re picking up the check.

William: And generally, Jimmy, are you happy? We’ve reached this age. We’re in the third act now. Do you look back with regrets?

James: Oh, we’re having an existential discussion. I wasn’t prepared. I thought we’d just brag about the kids.

William: We talk so little. I thought we might cut through some of the bullshit.

James: Regrets? I’ve had so many, but then again, too many to mention, if you don’t mind me butchering Sinatra.

William: Sinatra just sang it. Paul Anka wrote it.

James: I hate Paul Anka. I preferred the Sid Vicious version anyway. Did you ever see the video? He shoots up the audience at the end. They’re all in suits and evening gowns.

William: No, I can’t say I have. I’ll look for it later.

James: So, yes. I’ve got lots of regrets, but I don’t unpack them. I leave ’em in the past, where they belong and strive to be happy.

(The waiter takes their orders. Grilled octopus for an appetizer. A burger for James and a NY strip for William.)

William: Did your divorce make you happier? Meeting Cassie?

James: Cassie’s been out of the picture for quite awhile and divorces don’t make you happy. They make you angry. What’s with the middle-aged angst, Billy?

William: Ive just been thinking 40 years with the same woman. 40 years between dating and marriage. Sometimes, I think I want a change. Sommelier courses can’t be all there is.

James: Diedre’s great. You can’t be serious.

William: I’m not, but still I feel like I’ve missed out and now it’s too late. You’re dating? Sex with different women?

James: yes, dating here and there. Sometimes a woman takes pity, but it’s not all wine and roses. Or I should say it feels like that’s all it is. But why is too late for you?

William: I’m falling apart suddenly. My endocrinologist says I’m pre-diabetic. My cardiologist has me on statins. My dermatologist is slowly flaying me. I’m balding on top but growing hair everywhere else. I’m losing my hearing. My knees hurt. I need Viagra on the very rare occasion we have sex. It all seems so very pointless.

James: Hmm, I guess I can’t say, at least you’ve got your health.

William: No, you can’t.

James: Well, at least you’ve got your wealth.

William: Yes, it could always be worse.

James: Diedre could have half your money. And you’d still be an old whiner. That’s worse.

(The waiter returns with the grilled octopus.)

James: Tell me, Billy, how are the kids?

#middleaged #manspov

#middleageddating #lastfirstkiss #love #aging

#love #sex

#memories #writing

#fiction #play #sidvicious #sexpistols #franksinatra #myway

5 thoughts on “The Brothers Lament

  1. “Divorce doesn’t make you happy… it makes you angry”. Damn. That was brilliant. Five star entry… thank you.

    And I’m off to rewatch Sid and Nancy.


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