Interfering with fatepublished: 2010-10-19
She is a brunette. She has a short fringe and bobbed hair. Her cheekbones rise high above her nose. The cheeks themselves are dented inwards, the way one would look when sucking one’s cheeks in to look sexier. But she has all that, naturally. She has the dark, deep set eyes. It’s a pity her mouth juts forward and she seems to be hiding crooked teeth beneath them. Otherwise she’d be perfect.
And he. He leans over the table, toward her. His shoulderbones stick out from beneath the sweater he must have chosen to wear thinking it was cool. Hoping it was cool. It is black and has a red stripe across the top of it, which only serves to draw even more attention to those shoulders that are too boney. Black jeans and black Brooks that shine. Clearly, he has polished them. He is so tall that his knees stick out on each side of the table. From behind, I can see he has carefully organized his hair, made it go forward.
She talks, and talks. And he listens, intently. Evidently, they hardly know each other as she tells him about her work and her Russian manager. Until that moment I thought she was Brazlian. Both Russians and Brazilians have a slur to their r’s and produce rounded vowels. As if their tongue were thicker than ours. He, German, speaks back at her in relentlessly crisp tones with weak w’s. She hardly listens when he does. And she then picks up where she left off herself. It’s fine. He is quite happy listening to her. Or maybe simply just sitting opposite her, watching her. Studying how her cheekbones turn a deep red due to the huge goblets of wine they are drinking. And her nails: they too are a burgundy red.
She tells him about how her boss expects them to work as hard as he does. Then she moves on to describe her sister, and her niece, and how she loves them. After which she says that working hard is fine. “I put so much energy in wanting to love,” she says, “and to be loved. It’s just nobody showed up. So I have nothing to come home to, I just stay in the office.”
His thoughts are almost tangible, “me,” he thinks, “you have me.”
But then a waitress comes to take a picture of them, per her request. He shifts sideways which means I can see his face. It’s as I expected, and I’m disappointed to see my prejudices confirmed. His eyes are hollow looking, he is pale and he’s grown a beard but he doesn’t have the kind of face a beard looks good on. Glasses would suit him better.
Afterwards, the girl insists on taking a few pictures of him. He allows it to happen. He endures, without shifting in his chair. He is patient.
When she goes to the toilet, I quickly write a note: “I’m sorry to interfere with your life. But I need to say: you have to marry that man.”
The timing is perfect as I have just paid my bill. I slip my jacket on and rush to the toilet, where I listen for a moment. She is dead silent, so silent that I wonder what she is doing. Is she silently crying?
I could leave the note on the sink, write “for the Russian girl” on it and perhaps add, “PS: you can fix his hair, don’t worry about such things.”
Instead, I put it in my pocket. Nothing good ever came from interfering with fate.