I run up and down Main Street. Trying to appear not too insane.
I rush the bank in calculated urgency.
“Do you have an emergency defibrillator machine?”
“An emergency defibrillator machine?!”
“Shock paddles. For someone having a heart attack?”
I keep looking shop to restuarant to bank.
The paramedics arrive.
I return to the bistro.
We throw tables and chairs to clear a path.
“We’ve been doing CPR for nine minutes continuously,” says one of the nurse practitioners to the paramedics.
I see the glow of his Bardo.
And, yes, by the time I returned, his face had grown green and empurpled with veins.
He looked dead.
The paramedics take out the prize of a pair of paddles.
Finally. The defibrillator has arrived.
Fashionably late to the luncheon party.
They shock his heart.
His exposed chest heaves. He starts breathing.
He exhales; and, from this rest his next interval proceeds.
The color returns to his cheeks, though he remains unconscious.
Lazarus. The corpse reanimated before our stunned, gaping eyes.
A woman presents a check presenter containing her tab and a credit card, under my downcast eyes.
“I need to pay for this,” she says.
I respond without thinking, muscle memory taking over in the face of surprise and confusion, “One moment.”
I look up and see the face of Lazarus’ wife looking into me with tea saucers for eyes.
“Oh. No ma’am. We will take care of this.”
“How kind,” she dreamily responds.
The paramedics remove him to the sojourn of their ambulance.
I lock the front door.
Talking to a pair of diners, the owner accidentally drops and breaks a piece of stemware.
The busser rushes over to make ammends.
I reconfigure the dining room slowly.
Until it appears as though nothing happened at all.
I walk to table 12 and tell the pair of practitioners, “Thank you.”
Turns out they are engaged to be married in September.
Trying to enjoy a simple Valentine’s lunch.
The ambulance encasing him remains parked outside for twenty minutes. This is a good thing, apparently.
The ambulance drives away.
The staff makes a collective exhalation.
I unlock the front door.
I say, “Happy Valentine’s Day. Welcome. Party for two?”
Wearing eyes like tea saucers.
Appearing disembodied and ghoulish.