Wednesday, May 15, 2002

She winced a bit. "The things you do for fun in India you can't do here. I don't know, I read," she said. She ate tortilla chips in tiny bites. Sometimes a piece would crumble off and fall in her downy drink and she would pluck it out and pop it in her mouth. "I see how people live on television," she said, "and it's very different from life in India. I wonder what it would be like to live like that. I think I would like to try."

"But life on television isn't like real life," I said.

She looked across the room for a moment. "People going out to bars and drinking, and laughing, and doing things like playing pool," she said. "I think I would like someone to show me what that is like."

And I realized she was right: life in America is like life on TV. She was describing my life, and it had more in common with a beer commercial than with anyone's life in India. And I also realized what she really wanted from a man, an American man, and I realized I could give it to her if I wanted but I knew that I didn't and it was sad.