I really must get a warmer coat. The wind just bites through this one. It looks nice, it has got that. Top leather, and fitted perfectly. Cost me a fortune, but to be respectable one must be willing to pay for it. No other men in the park have coats as nice as mine. That poor fellow's coat has seem better days. The colour is all faded. Poor fellow's collar just got blown up. Oh! So that mustache was a fake, was it? Better catch that! And now the hat to! Brr... the wind really is strong... I'd hate to lose this tall hat. And... his hat is in a bush. That's a prickly bush. Poor fellow is too short to reach his hat. At least it is lodged in well; no chance of it going into the lake.
My shoulders are going to get cramps if I keep hunching against the wind like this. i must stop. If I acquire a hunch back it will certainly ruin the reputation I wish to build for myself. I want to be seen as a man out on the town, not one who hunches over books of poetry all day. It's so loud, all I can here is this infernal whistling. Like my ears are glass bottles for the wind to play on! Foul wind, I am not your instrument! It mocks me; quieting and then roaring as if in great merriment.
Oh to be merry I shall certainly have to find somewhere out of this wind, where sounds are not stopped from entering my ears.
Perhaps I will stop by the Opera on my way home. It would certainly be warm and, who knows?, maybe I'll even see Anne there. Ah, Anne. She's so sweet, and when she smiles those dimples are so deep. I do wish I could talk to her. Perhaps today I won't run into any of my friends there. It is hard to be polite when one's idiot friends are whispering behind one's back. It is hard to have respectable friends and fun friends. I am not yet passed my adolescent college days when I preferred fun to respectability, but perhaps one day soon. If I wish to talk to Anne I shall certainly present a more respectable image than that of my college years. Yes. Yes, I shall head there now.
The hat is still in the bush. I can't hear what that man is yelling at me, but I'll try and get it out. One must be virtuous! To be virtuous is a commendable habit. Oh, these darned thorns are going to scratch my coat. Do I risk ruining it? It will look bad, showing up at the Opera with a scratched coat. But do I take it off and risk ripping my shirt? Do I undress from the waist up? No, that would be scandalous. If this man loses hold of my coat-!!
Ow, those sting! I hope I don't bleed all over my nicely pressed sleeves. The wind is so cold. This shirt is even less protective than my coat. At least my hat shall keep my hair from becoming as wild as this rose bush. It is stuck on my head and this hat is stuck on the head of a rose bush!
Yes! I have it! It is quite an old hat, very worn around the edges.
No! Oh no! No!
My coat is flying away! Foolish man, releasing my coat to take your hat! Cursed, devilish wind! Oh God, there it goes! It's stuck on a lamp pole! If only I had participated in more sports in college! These pants are so tight. There it goes again... into the pond. It's being blown toward the other side. Perhaps I can find a stick large enough to fish it out? I certainly feel as if I have a knot in my side...
It's no use.
The ground is as cold on my rump as the wind is on my bare neck. Now I shall be dirty as well as de-coated. How foolhardy I was. One can never trust men who do not dress prudently. When will I learn! Oh, what does he want now? A hand? I shan't take it. This is your fault you fool. Who's coat is that anyway? Your father's? At least I still have my late father's coat at home. Oh the scolding I'd get if he knew I'd lost this one - and all to help a beggar!
He's patting my back!
His hand is so small. Where does he want me to go? Hopefully somewhere out of this infernal wind! ...The Opera is out of the question. I could never face Anne like this. This is so unseemly. I am shivering like a young boy! My nose shall run, and my cheeks will be pinked from the wind's sanding, and my shirt has become ruffled from my run. The rump of my trouser's will be stained and dusted from sitting on the ground like the fool I am. I am a mess.
How old is this man? His face is very smooth.
Oh! A carriage! I have never been so glad to feel rough upholstery on my legs! And the wind is gone! Ah, my cheeks are stiff with cold; my chin has lost feeling and my fingers have acquired a form of arthritis. My ears feel filled with air. At least they are no longer the wind's playthings. They are cold, though!
He was talking and I wasn't paying attention. How rude of me.
It's much easier to see my companion in a good light now that I am out of the wind which was bittering my soul. That coat certainly is to big on him, but I will not mention it. He has brought me warmth, and I will not mention his coat. In this warmth the loss of my coat doesn't seem so dire. Does he realize his tall hat is on backwards? I must not stare at his clothes, it would seem like I am judging him. I must give him my rapt attention.
Why do I recognize his eyes? Have I passed him on the streets? Will he pull down his scarf so I can see him better? Why does he shake his head at me? Oh- he is laughing at me! This is all for his amusement is it? Yes, he must have planned to make a great cuckoo out of me, and now I have lost my coat and my pride all to give a man who cannot even fill out his coat a laugh! Oh, I shall look at him no more! How does he expect me to believe him when he says he meant me no disrespect?
He knows my name!
Who is he?
Those eyes... yes, I know those eyes!