"The hard-on is no laughing matter," Stanley announced to the chorus seated with black spectacles uniformly worn on their pablum-stuffed faces. Later, staring across the table into their eyes he barked with a smirk, "Yes, I will be her Philip Roth; her Arthur Miller..." This time, the garishly dressed waiter appeared astonished, almost dropping the gin and tonic he was bringing Larissa. It would've been fine with him, as she was onto her fifth one and giggling like a stoned teenager, dragging on further what seemed like an endless night of service.
The absurdity of the situation, or really Larissa's laughter and smile, tickled Stanley to no end. His own smile was uncontrollable and his joy palpable to all around him, as it had been for the past six months. (This is why, he suspected, they hated him.) He leaned back and thought... Had it actually been that long since he stumbled into the gallery, late night, after a long day of heat and frustration, anxiety and pain? The choice he made that evening some might call kismet, but he never believed in such things. Regardless, had he gone home as was the plan, the painting, the dancing, and this night — and all the nights leading up to it — would've never happened, and his life would be that of someone else.
Stanley drifted back from his thoughts to see what appeared to be sunshine across the table, filling the room with a sense of purpose and possibility. He rubbed his eyes, looked at the chorus, and then Larissa; dear sweet Larissa. His long held and unfounded fear was suddenly gone, and he knew what he to do. Why put off the end, when the end is actually a new beginning?
He put down his fork, tossed his napkin to the floor, pushed himself out of his chair, and began the last walk of his life.