Previously: Man in the Red Underwear is a pastiche of prose and poetry with hints of parody of Zorro and The Scarlet Pimpernel and a dash of social satire on gender roles and class mores. Cecelia throws her annual society ball, where former lovers Andy and Bedelia meet.
Andy stepped away, stopping her in mid-couplet in a vain effort to break the burgeoning romantic atmosphere.
But you’ve changed too, my dear. You’ve started to wear pants.
Don’t get me wrong, you’ve grown so strong, so butch perchance.
Bedelia pursued him like a starving man at a buffet. “You don’t remember?”
Andy made a break for the other side of the room. “You stir my embers.”
“What did you say?” She stayed right on his heels. “You do recall that day!”
Andy swirled and said in the most light-hearted manner, “No no, my dear, no memories at all.” After a pause, he stepped forward, ready for another round of terse verse.
Are you engaged? A gorgeous man has swept you off your feet?
Please tell me details, like where and when did you meet.
Bedelia moved so close she felt his breath.
I loved a man once long ago and that is quite enough
For any woman’s life. It makes existence rough.
Andy held his ground, looking deep into her brown eyes.
So are you saying that your life is empty now? Tres triste. How sad.
But think of this, my dear. No man can break your heart. Be glad.
If they got any closer, they’d bump noses. Bedelia stood fast, not being the first to move away
Oh don’t you see I love a man who is so brave and true?
Please, Andy, dear, why don’t you know, it’s you, it’s you, it’s you?
Andy unperceptively shook his head, “I don’t recall.”
“No, not at all?” Her voice quivered.
“But if I did—“
“I wish you did—“
This was said in perfect unison which was quite remarkable because neither thought they’d ever be saying such words again.
“I’d wish I fell in love with you.”