Coffee with an Ex

He has been waiting for over an hour. If he was younger, then he might have been worried. But the Querent is an ancient man, and more importantly he is a very patient man. An hour means nothing to him, when there are so many behind him and endless more in front. Further still, his partner is the same. These are not long or great gaps, and they are not intolerable to either party. It is just so easy to loose track of time when you are blessed with so much of it. Aeons are like sand between his fingers.

The setting is a café, and an old one. He owns it, but structured behind enough layers of shell companies and other enterprises that nobody in this city knows. Its not the only small business that he owns out of sentimental value. There are other places like this all over the world, some owned by himself and others with his partner. The world does not stay the same and changes too quick for comfort, so they must claim some measure of control. Some measure of stability.

The city is ancient, one of the oldest and most beautiful in the world. It's always been one of his favorites. He missed the ground breaking by just under a week — his caravan had been delayed by a storm, and by the time it arrived, the city had already been settled. He's forgiven himself for it a hundred times, then brought the matter back up in that same, bitter fashion.

There are many sights in the city. The café doesn't have a view of any of them. There's just one building between it and a view of the Panokriton. He owns that building too, and it would only take a snap of his fingers to tear it down and have a clear view of the monument. It'll never happen. He's not here to improve things, only to remember. It is all he comes here for.

She enters in style, two hours after she was supposed to. He can't hold it against her. Once he was late by just under a year. They both break into massive smiles when they see each other. They didn't run into each other by circumstance since their last meeting last century, as they so often do. She orders a pair of coffees and joins him at the table, sliding down in the seat across from him. They laugh without speaking a word to each other. It feels like yesterday since the pair saw each other. It's been too long.

"What have your hobbies been?"

The most relevant question they have for one another. The big question to keep in mind is how they've been keeping themselves busy, what hobbies they've picked up in the mean time. It always varies. To say the pair has varied interests puts it mildly: they have touched upon everything in their attempts to keep themselves from boredom. Fortunately for them, the world is vast and everchanging. There will always be more. There will always be something new.

But don't forget about the older, either.

"Do you remember the Acropalaestra? It was ruined back, oh, a good eight hundred years ago by one of those Neogorgian Revivalist movements. I'm rebuilding it by hand a few miles north of here, all according to the ancient traditions, with the proper techniques and all. It's going well, but the metopes are proving a challenge."

She freezes, and slams her hands down, smiling.

"Are you kidding? That was one of my favorite of our buildings! Why are the metopes giving you hell, of all things? Sinos of Arcadium was a master but with time and practice… Anyone can be. Surely you've picked up the talent over the years."

"It's about respect. Certainly, I could outdo Sinos. But he was one of my dearest friends, and I'm not about to show him up at his own game."

"Ah yes, we don't want to disrespect his memory. What are you trying to do with it, then?"

"Oh, just a memory. I kept lamenting the fact I let it fall into ruin and the fact I wasn't there to stop it when it struck me: I had all the tools to fix it, all the know-how, all the money. All the time. So why didn't I actually get around to fixing it?"

"I've done a lot of the same. I'm the one funding that new museum next to the Panokriton. I could get us in, if you wanted a private tour. Enough of my collection is already in there, although most of the information is about the development of the city."

He laughs, all so gently.

"That's what I'm more interested in, anyway."

They spend hours in the café, ordering all of their favorites and several more rounds of coffee and tea. They lose track of the time, as they always do, and the hours slip by into night. The manager walks over to them and respectfully reminds the pair of the time, apologizing for the inconvenience. This always seems to happen to them, but the embarrassment is mitigated by the fact the grandparents of everyone working at the café this time hadn't yet been born the last time they were here.

Together, they leave the cafe and walk out onto the grand streets of the city. They're still in the old district of the city, and a rezoning a while back got the city to revert to the classical street plan, one that they had a heavy hand in. They know these streets like the back of their hands. They catch a view of the Panokriton, the glorious arena at the heart of the city. It's growing old and nearly falling apart from the glory days. One of these days, they'll be asked to consult for a restoration. Neither is sure that it really needs it.

The way to the museum is just over a massive bridge they forgot to name. They put the same amount of work into that they did with everything else, but there were just so many projects that and this one slipped by the wayside. Who would name a bridge? They still laugh about it to this day. Neither of them ever visits the city without taking a moment to cross it. Everybody loves the bridge. It's one of the most famous in the world. No name.

The museum is just on the other side of the bridge, and it is an easy walk to it from there. It stands within its own little park. She had used to own all of it, but decided that the museum was a better usage of the space after the years. She wasn't doing anything with the park, and had been hoping somebody would come to her with a better usage of the space. Only took a few hundred years before anybody made a good suggestion.

The pair slips into the museum easily. It's after hours, but the guard at the gate recognizes both of them and lets them in. She's the donor of most of the current collection, after all. Not to mention the fact that they're both mythical heroes in the city's past. It's hard to deny them entrance when their faces are carved into marble on the side of the museum.

She guides him through the museum, finding her collection. It's filled to the brim with ancient artifacts and treasures, better preserved than almost anything from that period. She's always been a collector. He asks why she decided to donate so much of the collection to the museum, and she tells him that they'll do a better job of taking care of it than she ever could. He laughs, thinking of how much he's lost himself.

Yeah, all I really wanna do
Is spend all of eternity with you
Yeah, all I really wanna do
Is spend all of eternity with you

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