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”Where were we? Ah... the meaning of life.”
“We are always there, about the meaning of life. And as always, you strayed from the topic.”
“Now, that’s not fair. Sometimes it’s you who is sidetracking.”
Smiles, in silent admission. Takes a sip of the warm coffee, enjoys the aroma.
”But OK, where exactly, about the meaning of life, were we when I strayed from the topic?”
“I don’t quite remember. It’s been a while.”
“But… it was two weeks ago, like always, wasn’t it?”
”No, it wasn’t. The last time you couldn’t make it. You had to take your son to some… football game, or whatever.”
Makes a face in acquiescence, grabs the spoon and stirs the coffee, to mix the added sugar.
“You sound a bit accusing. You know I have to take care of my kids.”
“Yes, but it’s strange that you must be the one driving every time.” Rolls eyes. “But maybe that is the meaning of life to you, driving to football games?”
”Being with my kids is definitely a part of the meaning of life to me. Maybe that’s hard for you to…”
Strikes a match, lights a cigarette. Blows out smoke.
Coughs, rather forced.
”You shouldn’t smoke so much.”
”You know that’s the reason we sit outside, even during winter, to allow me to smoke.”
“Maybe that’s the meaning of life to you, smoking?”
“Oh, not again!” An arrow of smoke shoots past the head. “Surely that was where you sidetracked, as you always do. That I smoke too much.”
”I’m saying it because I care about you!”
Raises the chin slightly, in defiance.
“I enjoy smoking, and what meaning is there in my life if I can’t do things I enjoy? And besides, what does it matter? I don’t have any kids and I won’t be having any either.”
An expression of suffering, gazes at the coffee pot.
Smiles again, smoothing things over.
“Sitting here with you is also a part of the meaning of my life.”
“For me too. A very important part. That’s why I...” Cuts short, tosses the head as if to scatter disturbing thoughts in there. “I don’t know how I would cope without these moments. They… you… are like new oxygen feeding my brain.”
”Oxygen? Not smoke?” Head slanting. ”I’m sorry. I appreciate that you care... somehow.”
“Now I recall where we were! The chicken or the egg, which one came first?”
”And you said the egg, and then I wanted to know why you believe that, but then...”
“Then I lit a cigarette and you started nagging about that. It’s the shape, naturally.”
Frowns, pours some more coffee, adds sugar, stirs.
“The shape? How do you mean?”
“Well, think for yourself. Out there, somewhere in the Nothingness… the original shape was floating. I can’t see the shape of a chicken out there in the Nothingness, it would be completely weird. But an egg, no problem.”
A faint smile.
”Then all that remains is the question of which came first, the egg or the sperm.”