Jesus Creed

On the transit train the other day from the terminal out to the remote parking at O’Hare Airport, I was jammed into a completely packed train. I was standing next to a middle-aged woman who I thought was looking at my shirt when she said to me: “Is that a fountain pen?” “Yes,” I said. Her comeback: “I’m a fountain pen collector. What kind of pen is that?”
Proudly I said, “A Pelikan Piazza Navona. Light, with a great nib.” She asked something no one ever asked me: “Can I hold it?” Well, I had never let anyone do that, but I knew she couldn’t fly the coop and run off with it. So, I said, “Sure.” She held it, admired it, and said, “I don’t have a Pelikan, but I’ll have to get one sometime.”
I asked her if she had ever attended the Chicago Fountain Pen Show, and she hadn’t but said she’d be going home to google and attend next year. I told her I wanted to go two years in a row but couldn’t because I was speaking each weekend.
Next year, I thought. Maybe I’ll see her and maybe she’ll have a Pelikan.
All this because today I got the catalog. Ah, it might be called concupiscence.

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