“I had not expected you to be here, sir.” I said and I wanted to leave him to his moment of solitude, a moment which he would have seldom time to enjoy.
He was standing near the balcony overlooking the boulevard that was in front the house.
He was his usually tall self, slender to the point of wiry and holding a cigarette. The one that was kept from the public eye, because smoking was bad now and it was something that could be used against him, even though the elections were still few years away.
“Don’t leave..please join me for a moment.” He said.
I walked over to him and we both stared out of the window, looking at people and cars on the street. Small figures in the distance. The sky was losing the redness of the dusk and the black of the night was taking over.
“There will be no stars tonight.” He remarked.
“No sir. It is going to rain.”
“I have not seen you before.”
“No sir. My name is Claire Redmond and it would have been unlikely that you would have seen me otherwise.”
“Oh? How so?”
“We are not encouraged to.” I said.
“Meaning you are told to avoid me.”, he laughed.
“That would be one way to say it, mister President.”
“What is it that you do, Claire?”
“I am a historian, mister President.” I said, “You might also call me record keeper. I write down what happens here.”
“Ah, you make history.”
“I would say you make history and I write it down.”
“That might be one way of putting it.” He smiled.
“It is unavoidable, being who you are.”
“Ever wondered about that, mister president?”
“About me making history?” He squeezed his eyes, sucked on his cigarette and was silent for a moment.
“Whenever I see a movie about a president, like one about Kennedy or Nixon, I think about it. But when I am in the midst of it I often forget, but sometimes I feel it: this is a historic moment, but that is just a small moment among all the other moments. It somehow becomes normal.”
“And was this a historic moment? One where you have this melancholic moment where you stare out over the city to make a decision about bombing a country or not?”
“I was just enjoying a cigarette.” He smiled.
“Pity. It would have made a nice historic movie moment, mister president.”
“It would have.”
“Maybe I could alter history a little bit and make this a historic moment, for the benefit of us both?”
“You would willing write yourself into history?” He said.
“A historians privilege.”
“I would have to make a decision first, though.”
“True, but even not making one could be a historic moment.”
“Sounds like a done deal then.”
“If I was narcissistic enough.”
“And you are not?”
“No mister president. I am historian.. not a politician.” And I gave him my best smile to cushion the shock.
He laughed, even with his eyes.