Thursday, May 05, 2016

Another Question...


I left my earphones in my other purse and the two women next to me are talking so loudly that I'm not sure if I'm more frustrated with myself or them. I choose them. They chatter on about the villa she stayed in, about the water, the weather, the pastries. One woman is perched eagerly over the other woman's phone. "That's a tall giraffe." "Yeah, we saw a lot of that, it was awesome." They are flipping through photos on the twiggy woman's phone. She wears suede boots up to the knee, a gold zipper from the heel all the way up the back of her calf, like a seam. "We ate at Africa House, it was awesome." She holds her phone in her left hand while running her finger across the phone screen. I see her ring finger wrapped in diamonds, a band of sparkling white, each stone nearly the size of my singular solitaire. Faster and faster she flips through the photos. The perched woman wears black leggings under a black skirt of the same material and can't stop coughing, asking clarifying questions, and interjecting opinions that the other woman swats away with minimal detail and maximum disinterest. "Why are you going so quick? I want to see!" she exclaims, leaning in closer. "It's not all exciting," her friend says as she tries to get through the slideshow. "Everything is exciting," she replies between coughs.

They both wear wigs, the nice ones that you can't tell are fake at first glance, the ones I only notice in this part of town where the men wear black suits and cover their heads and are seen walking to synagogue on Friday nights. "If you said, let's go on safari I'd say let's wait a few years, but now I'd totally go again." They talk about the friend who owns the villa. "Wife?" "She converted." "Huh." "Whatever." She brushes it off and moves on to talk about parachuting and the view from the balcony and more animals and breakfast and the kids the kids the kids. They talk so fast it sounds like someone is playing a tape at a jacked up speed. I keep waiting for the tape to break or for one of them to pause. It makes my chest feel tight and I have to remind myself to breathe. 

"So that was my trip. How was Pesach?" I am pleased that I know Pesach means the same thing as Passover and it makes me smile to think of my first Seder dinner just a couple of weeks ago. "Not as exciting as yours," the cougher replies and laughs and instead of answering says, "Two more questions..." It feels like she's stalling. She asks, and off they go again, same routine, same interjections, same lightening speed. More about the weather, the food, the massages, the villa, the friends who own the villa, how her husband loves to be the center of attention, how you could go if you were single but only if you're a super social person. 

Finally the coughing woman takes her turn. She has the stage and slides back into her seat. She slouches to be eye to eye with her suede-booted friend, who is resting the lid of her Starbucks cup against her suddenly still lips. But as it turns out, she doesn't have much to say. She throws out a few details about Seder and the kids the kids the kids and speaks so quickly her hands can hardly keep up. There is an apology in her body, like she doesn't deserves to be center stage. I find I can't even follow her train of thought. The bigger she becomes the more she fades, until she is invisible, and all I see is her tossing the conversation back to the other woman, another question about the kids the kids the kids. 





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