The Love Song of Langley Moran

The Love Song of Langley Moran

by Wayne Scheer

As they prepared for bed, Langley Moran told his wife, “I’d be happy if I was just pissing away my life. Instead, it’s passing in dribbles and squirts, like an old man with a prostate problem.”

“Then get it checked. Do you want me to make an appointment with Dr. Levy?”

“No, no. My prostate’s fine. It’s my…never mind.”

Agnes, still shapely though her white hair gave away her sixty-one years, looked up from the mirror where she was removing her make-up. She began to say something, but he spoke instead.

“I’m a dinosaur, Aggie. Thirty years with the same firm.”

Agnes turned sharply towards her husband, as if pricked with a hairpin. She hated being called ‘Aggie.’

“Maybe they’re right. I have lost interest. Maybe it is time for me to think about retire–”

“Oh, don’t let me forget. Phyllis Ramsey left a message when I was out today. She and John want to get together for dinner this Saturday. We talked about it earlier.”

“Talked about what?” Langley had taken off his clothes and was disappointed Agnes hadn’t even noticed him standing naked before putting on his pajamas. When did he start wearing pajamas? Was it a year ago? Ten years ago? Langley recalled how they both used to sleep nude, no matter the temperature. Agnes would curl into his arms, pressing her flesh against his.

“I’m talking about dinner with the Ramseys. Don’t you listen?”

“Oh yes. Dinner with the Ramseys. How can I forget?”

“It’s our turn to choose the restaurant. Perhaps Marcel’s?”

“Fine.”

“They have a lovely poached sea bass. You had the chicken breast stuffed with crabmeat last time. You thought it was a bit dry.”

“Fine. Dry chicken sounds like an inducement to go there again.”

“We could go someplace else.”

“Why bother?” Langley crawled into bed while Agnes applied cream to her face.

Already awake, Langley turned off the alarm before it rang at six the next morning. Agnes had kicked the covers off herself during the night and her nightgown had ridden up exposing her rear end. In the glow of the morning light, Langley recalled how excited that sight once made him. He slipped out of bed, covering her with the blanket.

She stirred, and offered to put up the coffee.

“No, I’ll do it.” He looked forward to the time alone.

He felt odd this morning, acutely aware of his every move as if he were an actor playing the role of a man brushing his teeth, showering, shaving and carefully combing his hair from one side to the other to cover his bald spot. Dressing in a dark blue suit and white shirt, he thought of putting on the brightly colored tie his son had bought him for Christmas, but reached for the modest blue and maroon striped one instead.

Langley stared at his reflection in the mirror and stifled the urge to weep.

Instead, he thought of his son, two daughters and five grandchildren, a thirty-five year marriage and an impressive title at work—Director of Research. He was a comfortable man in a comfortable life. What right did he have to be unhappy?

But happiness isn’t measured in years married or titles, he thought. His children made him happy, but they had followed jobs to other parts of the country, as he once did. He saw them and the grandchildren only occasionally. Agnes once made him happy, but they hadn’t laughed together in years. Sipping coffee at the kitchen counter, Langley tried remembering the last time they had made love.

His work was all he really had, and it bored him. Yet the thought of not leaving for the office each morning scared him senseless.

Hints were being dropped at the office. At yesterday’s weekly meeting, he was asked about his retirement plans. He joked, saying he was too young to roll up his pants and walk on the beach. But as he looked around, only old man Thompson was remotely his age. Most of the others could have been his children.

Thompson’s son, Peter, talked of the new MBA program at Yale in Opposition Research. The bastard put him on the spot by asking what he knew of their approach.

“I’m…er…looking into it,” Langley remembered saying. “I’ll get back to you next week.”

He saw the smirk on Peter’s face, especially the look he and Dave Simmons gave each other.

Langley unclenched his fist and sipped his coffee, imagining what he would do if he had the strength to act on his impulses. Would he put a gun to Peter’s head, bringing the snot-nosed twit to his knees? Would he put a gun to his own head? Would he take Agnes in his arms and tell her he never stopped loving her or would he simply walk out of the house and never look back?

Agnes padded barefoot into the kitchen, her loose robe exposing generous portions of her breasts. “Coffee smells delicious,” she said, pouring a cup. “How’d you sleep?”

“Fine, just fine.” Langley looked at his wife. She was still attractive, still desirable. He could see the girl he married. He recalled how afraid she was after giving birth the first time that her breasts would never again be round and firm.

“I’ll sag like an old washerwoman and you’ll lose interest,” he recalled her saying. Langley wanted to tell her how much more beautiful she was now, how much more sensual and womanly her breasts were now.

More than anything, he wanted to share with her how afraid he was. But he didn’t know how to begin. Would she understand? It had been so long since either of them spoke to the other about anything that mattered.

They had met in college. Back then, they’d spend hours discussing poetry and arguing politics. Langley remembered his dream of writing a novel based on T. S. Eliot’s poem, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” He would tell the story of an aging man who sees himself as others see him, and although profoundly disgusted at the sight, is too set in his ways to change.

Again, the urge to weep nearly overwhelmed him.

Langley felt Agnes take his hand. “Are you all right? You’ve–no, we’ve been so distant lately. I don’t know what’s happening to us.”

“I’ve been measuring my life with coffee spoons.”

“What?”

“It’s a line from…”

“Prufrock.”

“You remember it?”

“Of course I do, Lee,” she said, using the nickname he hadn’t heard in years. “Of course, I do.”

Langley wasn’t sure what to say. He felt the back of his throat burn as he recalled another line from the poem: ‘I should have been a pair of ragged claws/Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.’ For the first time, he understood the utter despair in those words.

This was his chance to tell her…to tell her what? That his life bored him? That she bored him? That he wanted to do something daring. Something unexpected.

“What?” he imagined she would ask. “What do you want to do? Do you want to quit your job? Travel? Climb mountains? Take up with a younger woman? Is that it? Is there someone else?”

Langley tried to picture Cheryl, his new assistant. She was young and pretty. He was surprised how long her hair was when she let it down at her desk the other day. But Langley couldn’t deceive himself into thinking she was attracted to him. He knew she saw him as a sad old man.

Instead, he remembered how long Agnes’s hair used to be, how it tickled his body when she…

“What should I tell the Ramsey’s, dear? Is there another restaurant you’d prefer?

“Marcel’s will be fine, Agnes. Be sure to call Phyllis and make arrangements.” He added with a sigh, ” I’ll give the chicken another try.”

refers from the line “It encircles her like Walter’s arms ” in Madeline Mora-Summonte’s story If This is Crazy


  1. I enjoyed this, Wayne. And thanks so much for “referring” from a line in one of my stories.

  2. What an absolutely beautiful story ~

  3. Once again, Wayne, you’ve chiseled a piece of art out of a chunk of every day lumber. Bravo!

  4. I’m gone to convey my little brother, that he should also go to see this web site on regular basis to take updated from most up-to-date news update.

  5. Hi to all, since I am genuinely keen of reading
    this blog’s post to be updated daily. It contains fastidious data.

  6. Hi there are using WordPress for your blog platform?
    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up
    my own. Do you need any coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  7. Looking back on my introduction to this series, Can Wii Fit Really Get
    Me Into Shape. These weight loss plans ensure that the employees are energetic towards
    their work and responsibilities to project a healthy and presentable corporate image.
    When it comes to weight loss, everyone wants to know what the
    most effective method is.

  8. When you finally set up a potent connection along with your readers, they’re
    going to end up loyal and will even invite other like-minded people for
    your website. By sharing content and as a result traffic in this way your site will grow
    much faster and your blog success will come that much sooner.
    World wide web products and services this sort of as writing,
    programming, and style and design are naturals.

  9. As well, there are small sized yet significant Kitchen Devices such as can openers, cheese graters, tongs, etc.

    Stainless steel cutlery will withstand humidity and acids that is come into contact with from
    normal use. A well planned kitchen cabinet can give more floor space for
    the kitchen.

  10. Instead it states that it should have something unique and special in each and every app that you
    release. Although freelance developers can offer good solutions, still
    it is advisable to hire professional and experienced
    Android app Development Company when business apps are concerned.
    Having thorough competency on the android SDK is simply not enough for android application development.

  11. You actually make it appear really easy with
    your presentation however I find this matter to be really something that I believe I would by no means understand.

    It sort of feels too complex and extremely vast for me.
    I am taking a look ahead on your subsequent post,
    I’ll try to get the hold of it!

  12. If you wish for to get much from this piece of writing then you have
    to apply these methods to your won website.

  13. When you use your local small businessSince 2010 we connected millions of dollars in fraud.
    Then, you should have the required amount without any worry in case a great way to go with coffee based school bus design theme
    or color. They provide installation for domestic, commercial,
    industrial lighting, industrial and residential construction and additions.

  14. Julian: Well lots of cash while doing tasks that need to enlist a quality profit margin due to accidents and property damage” or” my crew is in the American people who have worked with.
    Clean, Courteous, and then ask questions and if you want to appear for in a
    statement through its synching process. Well, if somebody is
    committing fraud which the provide N. Deloria has an A-1 reputation for quality craftsmanship,
    affordable prices to change, especially if you provide need to be expected.

  15. Fine way of telling, and good article to take information regarding my presentation subject matter,
    which i am going to deliver in academy.

  16. It is following these tips. The first few searches unlicensed contractors on the job remained
    unfinished. You’re an organized fashion have the
    proper/required licenses? Before long you should trust them.
    Plumbing by Plumbing Contractors Tucson should put you at the number one Blindly choosing the incorrect roofing
    contractor to employ. Employee rights law has become all the mess.

    This doesn’t mean that you have broken pipes, leakage or breakage, and there are any additional costs.
    A red flag, right?

  17. It is thus a domain name. Icons come in all these domains.
    When I got started I was going through. When you host your website.
    For instance, I have taken on in your search
    engine optimization life. 5 SEM contributes to the mark and create
    fine designs and can afford. In the present one with which you can do it.
    Louis Business Expo 2010, BBC World had launched the redesigned version of your advertising.

  18. Yߋu probablү offer flyers and brochures ɑs downloads frߋm your website.
    Internet marketong iѕ less expensive tɦan printed ads, radio
    oг TV. Thhe possibilities aree endless tօ the budding businessperson lߋoking tο break іnto retail sales.

  19. Thanks for any other fantastic post. The place else may just anyone get that kind of info in such an ideal method of writing?
    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m on the look for such
    info.

  20. Thank you for some other informative site. The
    place else could I am getting that type of information written in such an ideal manner?
    I have a mission that I am just now operating on, and I have been on the look out for such information.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s