Lois and Olli


John Singer Sargent “A Dinner Table at Night”

Lois and Olli always dined in the dead of night.

Dressed in their finest linen and lace, they preferred to sip their wine by lamplight, they enjoyed taking their meal with knife and fork by candlelight and they savored their dessert in bone chilling darkness.

Occasionally, with knife in hand, Olli would look up from his plate and offer a little smile to Lois and in return Lois, with one hand curled around the stem of her glass would turn her head and purse her painted ruby lips at him.

Sometimes they would ask for salt, or maybe more wine and a waiter- or waiters would come from the shadows and oblige Lois or Olli .

After they served the couple, the staff would fly back into the corners of the dining room and press their backs against the walls and with one eye they watched the only doorway out and with both ears they listened for the clock to strike the half hour before they closed.

” Do you know what I was just thinking Olli? ” Lois would sometimes ask.

Olli raised his hand, lifted a finger and from the balcony above someone began to play the violin. ” What were you thinking Lois? ”

” Go on Olli, you know me better then anybody. You know what I’m thinking.”

Olli looked into Lois’ eyes and he leaned forward and placed his hand over hers. ” Do you ever not imagine me in a coffin sans my head, sweet Lois? ”

Lois’ lifted her glass to her lips. ” Never il mio animale domestico”

Olli took his hand away from Lois and he held it up and flexed each finger. ” Still there I see. ‘

He smiled tenderly at Lois.

” For now. ” Lois said. ” For now. “.

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