I was a marble statue on a stone bench when he walked out, his pack of cigarettes already in his hand as he opened the door. He sat down next to me, our thighs touching, remembering. We smoked and he told me himself what I had heard around the department.
He told me gently, with regret. I laughed at him, also gently. I knew where his wife was from and I knew what the South could do to its women. His situation, all bittersweet poetry and wilting flowers for him, was actually all pragmatics and strategies, southern style. As familiar to me as the smell of pine trees on the way to the beach on vacation.
He told me he loved me then. He didn't, but I knew what he meant. And I knew what he wanted from me, even if he didn't. I accepted the part with a farewell kiss, still more bittersweetness for him and just a kiss for me.
I played my part well though. It was my parting gift, to make up for my gently mocking laughter. Electric glances and accidental touches and suggestive sighs to help him add sweet tragedy to his bitter comedy.