With no small sense of wonder, I watch myself say hello to the waitress, a nerdy young Vietnamese woman with enormous black rimmed glasses, and I watch myself order food. It is absolutely incredible to me. My body is clenched so tightly with pain that I can barely sit up in my chair. I just climbed down out of the back window of my house, following my suitcase and guitar, to avoid seeing any of the people, the loving friends, gathering outside my bedroom door. It would have been too much. Too painful. How are the words, “and an order of spring rolls” coming out of my mouth? But there they are. Moving out into the air between us. Independent of everything that is me they emerge and elicit a smiling response from the waitress who dashes off to bring me the first food I’ll attempt to eat since yesterday, well after the sun has set and I looked into her eyes for the last time. After I touched her hands for the last time. After I held her in a tango embrace, both of us crying, trying to remember every detail of her eyes, her nose, the curve of her hip, just touching and holding for the last time.
The waitress stops by later and, bending down to look up at my face, which I can’t seem lift from my chest, says, “You’ve got the look.” I freeze. I don’t want to talk about it. Is it obvious? Does she know? I don’t want to talk about it. I have nothing to say. Just move along and stop noticing me. I’m not really here. I’m sick and you might catch it. Maybe I can just run for the door. If I rip a handful of money from my wallet and just throw it on the table… “The look of someone who’s pretty full,” she says.
I glance over at the pile of uneaten food before me. The bowl of my favorite noodles. The pile of spring rolls. “Yeah, I guess I’ll need some boxes,” I hear myself say.
As always, follow the photo link to the photographer’s site.