Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Someone I Think Arden Will Meet

a man in a wheelchair enters the crowded café. the old time jazz, so full of soul, keeps time for the ebb and flow of conversation and the influxes of joy as people come and go. a woman arrives, meeting the man in the chair. they appear to be on a date, not their first, but they have not been together long, either. before the woman sits down, she tells the man she needs a favour. the favour is that he permit her to move the tables they are sitting at so that the two tables are evened up. of course the man accomodates her. she finally sits down and pulls a book out of her purse, and suddenly she has a disgusted look on her face, holding her hands poignantly, with disdain. her hands are small, and she has contorted them so that they almost look stricken with palsy or paralysis. the cause of her suffering is the presence of jam on the cover of her book, which she had smeared "all over her hands." it took her a while to decide what to do; finally she went and got a cup of water from the staff and rinsed her hands. why she didnt go to the washroom, i dont know. the man kindly got some napkins and wiped the table while she was fussing, and for some inexplicable reason did not accuse her of being totally insane. as they sit and chat, she holds her coffee cup to her lips precariously, touching the ceramic as little as possible with her mouth, with her hands. she holds the handle of the cup gingerly in her right fingers and supports the left side with two fingertips of her left hand, her other fingers poised out, like little limbs unfurled for action. what a proud neurotic. what is this man doing with her? does he find her habit of smoothing her eyebrows endearing? or maybe he likes the way her eyebrows run almost parallel to her widow's peak. or maybe she is kind. kindness can be hard to come by these days.

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