Leonard Cohen

When the kids were old enough to drink wine and they were all - him and her and the kids - sitting around and talking, his tales became more revealing. There was this one time, he began, and continued to tell a story about a woman he had known, who had introduced him to Leonard Cohen's poetry... oh yes, she had a book of it, which she read to him from, and it was beautiful; but, more than that, she had slept with Leonard. She called him Lenny.

They weren't actually kids, but to their elders, early twenties is still kid-territory. On the other hand, they were all drinking wine, and so he talked on, heading somewhere she wondered if he would really go.  As it turned out, he told the kids, the woman who read the poetry smoked a certain brand of cigarettes she could get only in a town across the border, 60 miles away. She said she would give him anything he wanted if he would drive her, and so he said yes.

The kids were not exactly hanging on his every word, but they were interested. She, though, had heard the story more than once before and knew the payoff, and as he described the tavern where he and Leonard Cohen's ex-lover had stopped all those years ago when he was about the same age as the kids, she considered reminding him of his audience.

Because how much would these kids, his kids, really want to know and if he repeated the same line she knew, from having heard it repeated, how would they take it?

Before he got to that point, however, his son broke in to ask a question, something she could not remember later because all she could think of is that maybe the son had sensed that he did not want to listen to what came next, not the details, not the rim shot that would make his dad sound like an old man boasting nostalgically of past triumphs. Unless he could convince them, the kids, that he really once was as dashing and perfectly attentive as the Leonard Cohen women used to fantasize about while listening to one of his plaintively romantic ballads. Women who wished that Lenny would touch their perfect bodies with his mind, just as he had touched Suzanne's. Women whose bodies were, perhaps, perfect only in their minds.

 Instead, the conversation snaked around what might have been a pothole in the middle of the road, which could have damaged the undercarriage, and moved along the harmless aggregate, rolled smooth, where no memories had yet been created.