I thought it was him. I wasn’t sure. But at three, the eveningfall of waiters’ day within a day, a fault of silence opened across the jingling clinking murmuring space of the bistro Melchior. All chewing jaws happened on the midswing at once, each wondrous thought and pip of gossip hit pause, each perspiring glass of Sauvignon chanced to have its dribbling hips untouched. The arbitrary gap of noiselessness ripped across the chequered hall like white space shot diagonal across a printed page by a freak of typesetting. Before the common rocks of bedlam closed the fault again, a single bar of sound crashed louder than it ever had or would on a trading day lunchtime in Melchior’s workspan: ice cubes lurching from a waiter’s stainless steel pitcher into a tumbler. The waiter, entranced by the music of ice chonking into the water, let it run on, overfilling the tumbler and prickling me with drops of cold when it splashed my shirt. I was watching the man standing at the oyster cart. The sound of the ice in the silence caught him and he turned to look at me. I’d been right. He was the man. He was the man who had once been Maurice Mak.

The Museum Of Doubt

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