Mr. Apotienne knew Mongolian wrestling, at least as an observer. He had seen it, had taken part in the festivities that surrounded it. Where he once thought of his inner struggles as Greco-Roman matches, he came to know they were full-on Mongolian, one of The Three Manly Skills. When he had a dispute to resolve with himself, he now pictured the open field, the crowds, the deep hues of traditional wrestling attire, ferocity and strength. He knew the better man would win.
For a creature with even a pin-dot less integrity, this would not have been an issue. No manly men would have needed to suit up, no massed locals collected to watch. It would have been a non-thing, a factoid dropped in casual conversation. There were occasions, not many, for which he and all who knew him were grateful, when Mr. Apotienne over-thought matters.
Before arriving at the tea shop, The Reading Man had decided to ask Gloria to dinner that evening. He was comfortable with any answer she gave. It was short notice but it was also spontaneous. Inland, one of the towns held a monthly barbecue during the summer, late spring and early fall, and fluffed it out with a farmers' market, swap meet and shops staying open longer than usual. TRM had seen a flyer or poster somewhere the day before, reminding him of the event. His plan was to knock at the kitchen door after his walk and extend the invitation. Having wrestled his way to an answer already, he anticipated a peaceful time up and down the shore, time to empty his mind, let go of doubt or debate and allow inspiration to visit, if it cared to.