Thursday, August 25, 2011
A woman enters the courtyard glances around in her subtle confusion. In distressed spandex, she knows what she hates body first, the rest of the world when she has time. She admires the strong, wide denim of a man to her left. Military. Sewn patches. Biker. She veers toward and sits at the table next to him. In space, a tepid light approaches a rock, which bends it so very slightly in its favor. Race.
Teens at the next table try to talk like adults. Their voices like two long poles in a crowded room.
The woman has switched seats now, the one watching the man. She's moved so she can better view of him. He now has a woman sitting with him. She effuses a spousal aroma. But that doesn't stop the other woman from watching intently. Some are to be admired for the tenacity of their hunger. Survivor
The servers across the court are having to gossip more quickly now with a steady increase of patrons. Loud cheers from down the block grow in timbre. I watch their allure, which seems to grow and darken like areolas. I take a deep draw and envelope my head in a concealing haze. That's when I hear the thing that ties it all together. Cancer
Suddenly. I'm aware. Runners slowing to a walk at the end of the courtyard, their matching pink shirts, the common goal. The no longer unconscious shifting in my chair. My smoking takes on an apologetic air, for no discernible reason. I find myself rehearsing answers to questions I will not be asked.
The runners end their trek and file into the other bar in spasms. Swarms of tanned arms taken up in solidarity. Cropped hair and looks of dogged gratitude. Hope against corrugated time. "Juicy's Juggs" on their shirts call forth no sexuality, but rays of sunshine and a clean bill. Families trundle by like nuclear caravans, wives smiling at the open display of womanhood. Children confused. Husbands adjust themselves in pastel Polos.
Servers are in high gear now, unsure how to temper their typical sexuality in this singular context of what is just beyond their lives. Till the end of their shift, they will pace the gray zone between them. Race.
Within the gathering crowd of runners, a teenage girl plays with her phone, looking up now and again to half-smile at the positive energy around her. It is the exact same look as the server orbiting her. The one with the Eastern Bloc lips and Allied hips. She maintains her pace, her eyes darting to the growing fervor of the crowd. Fleeting glimpses of a verified future, a road not yet traveled. She is drawn and repulsed. It's a conflict now a part of each fake smile she flashes.
The woman across the way gets up. She stands right in front of the man and his companion. She looks at them both likes she wants to speak, looks back at the runners instead, and absently walks away. Survivor.