Vera works for a company called Loan Some, that loans out friends to the lonely and for other events. Previously… Vera works for a company called Loan Some, that loans out friends to the lonely and for other events. In the latest episode, Bruce gave Vera two assignments in one day: a lovelorn blind man and the world’s worst magician. Readers voted that the magician burned down a building.
“He burned down a building,” said Bruce Kitchen.
“Was anyone hurt?”
“No. Thankfully, they got everyone out in time.”
Geez, Vera thought. Am I putting my own life in jeopardy by being his loaner?
“Relax,” said Bruce, almost reading her thoughts. “It’s not like he’s intentionally bad.”
That didn’t make Vera feel better at all.
The next morning at the park, Vera recognized her first assignment immediately.
Sitting on a bench, Gus Sayers stared straight ahead, his dark glasses affixed to his face and his cane with a cherry red tip leaning next to him.
“Gus?” she said as she approached.
“Marie?” he said, putting out his hand in faith that she was there.
Vera found it. “Nice to meet you.”
Gus was probably about 10 years older than Vera, with sophisticated gray sprinkling the sides of his hair. “This is so weird. I’ve never done anything like this before.”
It’s what every loanee would say to Vera before a Loan Some assignment. Once the novelty of the situation wore off, they got down to business.
“During today’s lunch,” he said, “I want you to tell me whether she’s over me.”
Easier said than done, thought Vera. “How… am I supposed to figure that out?” she asked.
“Well, as my new ‘girlfriend,’ see if you can detect any jealousy, whether there’s still any love there.”
Vera was quiet. She’d never paid much attention to seeing “love” between people.
“Tell me what you see right now,” he continued. “What’s going on in the park?”
Vera looked around. She saw a young couple stiffly sitting next to each other like two freshly clipped blades of grass. “I see a couple on a first date.”
“How do you know they’re on a first date?”
They reminded Vera of an art exhibit she’d seen where a photographer took photos of strangers hugging and how you could so clearly detect they didn’t know each other, despite the embrace.
“They look nervous. They aren’t comfortable sitting next to each other.”
“See. You’re doing fine. You can read people.”
“But not love.” She was anything but an expert on the subject. She could barely utter the word without getting embarrassed.
“If you could describe love in one scene, what would it be?”
How did she end up being the one under the microscope?
Vera searched her brain. There were a few moments of silence where only the chatter of people in the park was audible.
“I’m waiting,” he said.
“Working on it.” Apparently, patience was not one of his heightened senses. “OK. Swinging on a swing on your stomach. It’s a weird sensation. Fun, but sometimes uncomfortable. As a kid, I didn’t know whether I was hungry or wanted to vomit. And yet I’d always go back for more to figure out what I liked about it.” Vera exhaled.
“Come close to me.”
“Just come close.”
Vera lowered her head close to his, so her ear was within whispering range. It made her a little uncomfortable.
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