Saturday, February 18, 2006

The woman & he are talking

The man was wishing other men might be able to hear and listen and watch her speaking (like a man), but she looked nothing like a man. She looked animated, even convivial, enchanting, aimless, graced by bullets in her rack of pewter hair, airy, coquettish. She talked like a stock report. He felt like calling his broker. He opened his menu and the topic a little wider: Had she seen Man on the Moon? She had not seen it, but she had watched man walk on the moon during her childhood. Had he read Man on an Orange Carpet? No, he had not read many books that year. It was from six years ago, anyway. She turned away from him. No one she had talked to had read Man on an Orange Carpet. She would keep asking. This woman just stops, he was thinking, just bed hops: she didn't look like someone who could hop, much less crawl. She might be like that: faring for herself on four poster after four poster. He liked someone with more volume than this woman seemed to have. She seemed shouldery. Give her shoulders a good shake when he came back from the bar with his hors-d'oeuvres, but she might think he was a good ol' boy, treating her like a guy. She seemed unlikely to want to be treated like a guy. Not a guy, not a jumpy kitten. A starer at the wall? Do you stare, he might ask her, but it was a rude question, like staring itself, like gaping. She was drifting because he was not acting on any of his impulses, any questions he might have asked to keep the conversation going. What are you thinking, he could ask her, to buy some time. Wine? She let her glass out to him to fill it. It was her second, his almost third.

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