diary / by Edward Mullany


I was having coffee, at his request, with the French translator of a volume of my stories, in order to discuss what my intention had been with regard to a usage, or phrase, that is particular to the English language, but which doesn’t seem to have a foreign equivalent, when the server who was waiting on us, at the table at which we were seated, at a café whose doors were open to the sidewalk, along which no one was walking at this hour, on a weekend, when people who live in this city tend to still be asleep…yes, we were having coffee, and talking in this way, trying to find a solution to the problem, when our server said to us, as she’d been standing beside us with a pad and pencil, so that she’d happened to overhear us, while she prepared to take our order, that maybe we should maintain the English in that instance, which didn’t seem to me like a bad idea, though as soon as she’d said it she apologized, as if it had occurred to her that she ought not to have said anything, although, as it turned out, when she wasn’t working here, in this industry, she said, she studied literature at a university, so she couldn’t help but be interested in our conversation, and, anyhow, neither myself nor my translator had minded that she’d spoken, but in fact saw the wisdom in what she’d told us, had wondered ourselves if maybe we should do that, and thus were grateful for her advice, which we went with.