You’re thinking about her again, she says.
No I’m not, I say. I’m not thinking about anything.
You must be thinking about something, she says. You can think about nothing but you can’t not be thinking something.
I’m just looking at the garden, I tell her. I’m looking at the azaleas. But I wouldn’t call it thinking.
To perceive is to classify, she says, to classify is to think. How else would you know what you were looking at?
I’m thinking now that you’ve asked me, I say. Before that I was just letting the colours hit my eyes and the air touch my face.
Don’t go Buddhist on me now.
I wasn’t thinking anything specific, if you like. Nothing specific.
That sounds better, she nods. I get picky when people tell me they’re not thinking of anything.
I know, I say.
You’re sure you’re not thinking of her?
No, I say. I haven’t thought of her in a long time. Apart from when you ask me, I add.
You’re not just saying that? Like when you say you’re not thinking anything?
I mean it.
If you must think of her I’d rather you tell me. I wouldn’t want to think you were thinking of me when all the time you were thinking of her.
I’m not thinking of her. If I think of her I’ll tell you.
Were you thinking of me? When you were thinking just then, I mean.
It’s hard to say. I probably was, indirectly.
In what way? What exactly were you thinking of?
I was thinking lots of things, indistinctly. A whole lot mixed together, and you were there somewhere.
That’s not very exact.
It’s hard to be exact about thoughts.
That’s true. That’s very true.
What are you thinking about? she asks.
I’m not thinking about her, I tell her straight out.
That wasn’t my question. Why do you bring her up? Can’t you ever stop that?
I thought that’s what you wanted to know—whether I’m thinking of her, I said. That’s what you usually want to know.
Well you must have been.
Thinking of her.
No, I reply, becoming short.
No, I say again.
It was a simple question, she says. You think a lot, she says. Sometimes it’s nice to know.
I was thinking of you, I say. When you asked the question I was thinking what you meant.
And before that?
I was just looking at the garden…thinking of the garden.
What about the garden?
I was looking at the frangipani, admiring the flowers and listening to insects buzz. I was thinking that I like frangipani.
Ah, you were regarding the frangipani, and watching yourself in the act of doing so.
You’ve got it, I answer.
I think that explains it, she says.
Later on, for a little while, I think of her.
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