Contagion arrives as I am halfway through both a two-year contract as a publicist for an aerospace company & making up a cheese platter.
I am taken by the three piece suit it is wearing, especially the waistcoat which is made out of a contrasting material, possibly washed silk. It swallows up both the overhead lights & those cellphones momentarily lit up as they capture the entrance, just in case it may later turn out to be important.
Nobody else notices the suit, nor what it is mounted on, even though the drape is most becoming to the wearer. It presents a conundrum: beauty is superficial, is skin deep, but the superficial doesn't even penetrate the eye, let alone the skin.
The talk ignores what's around it even though the eyes are elsewhere. Contagion drifts on through. I wait for it to reach out an arm, or plant a kiss on a cheek, or whisper the solution to Fermat's last theorem in an ear, any task that touches someone. To spread. But no-one.
Then it notices me watching it & nods politely. I think I understand what it has intuited. Only this contagion was around when Marvin Gaye was King. Only this contagion realizes what's going on. It takes a contagion to recognize another contagion, even if it is of a different genus. Indifference in this instance. Why override when the space is already overrun.
I turn away. The platter scatters. It no longer matters.