“All of these faces I see would be soft to touch.”
“Soft to touch”
“I want to touch your face.”
Her eyes interpreted his words. And the dirty cloudy sunlight hit her face as she was passed a hot and sour soup.
“ALL of these faces?” she said and blew on the soup.
“I suppose.” He began to ramble. “There’s a person to touch everyone’s face. I mean.. It’s not me but it could be if I could be the person that gets close to all of them.”
“Hypothetically, I mean.”
“Is this about them now? Or is this about me?”
He was passed his hot and sour soup. He didn’t know how to respond, but he smiled at the waitress as she walked off to speak with the woman, rolling bread crumbs with the bottle of rooster sauce, speaking amazing curtains of Mandarin. Thoughts that were so alien to him in their profundity that he felt that nothing so true could be spoken in the west.
Her hot and sour soup was half done, and he had forgotten what he was talking about, he glanced to the street below and at the people entering the tattoo parlor. It must be windy outside. Her Mongolian Beef arrived with rice.
“I suppose you’re right.” He came to. “I’ve been thinking about that time we almost kissed.”
“It was a mistake.”
She was chewing her food.
“I should’ve kissed you. There’s never enough time not to.”
She looked away with black-lined eyes.
“There’s always a time that I want you and another time that I don’t want you. And when I want you, there’s always some technicality that gets in the way.”
She closed her eyes in a passing shadow.
“Smooth talker.” She said absently.
“Low Mein?” Asked the waitress.
“Yes, thank you.”
She couldn’t finish her food.
“My mother got a call this morning. My grandmother is passing away. She doesn’t have too long.”
“Oh my god. I’m so sorry to hear that.”
Her face sagged.
“Shit” She said.
“My mother caught the first plane to Tampa, and she thought that I needed to stay here. I don’t. I don’t really need to be here at all.”
She craned her head down to look at the pedestrians below.
“Are you ok?” He said hands by his sides.
“I’m fine. It’s just that my grandmother is dying… or dead.”
Her face became hard to touch.
The Mandarin around them became sharp and annoying to both of them. It felt wrong.
“Were you close?”
“We were. She got alzheimer’s a few years ago. It was always just a matter of time.”
He held a gaze.
“Is there anything I can do for you?”
She sighed through a minute of silence.
“I need you to be yourself again. And I want you to let me go.”
“Go where?” “Florida, it’s not right without me.”
She touched his face. She left for a year.
He paid the check and opened his fortune cookie.
“Someone will offer you good advice.”