Wednesday, May 04, 2005

When the girl appeared to take her window seat she was by me in a second or two and I didn't dare to stare at her for she was, I could tell, extremely beautiful. I couldn't even tell how old. But she was a grown woman that's for sure, lithe in tight jeans and silk-screened black T-shirt, straight blonde hair, eyes that shone and a pretty, pretty face ending with a dimpled, tapered chin. I was of course constantly aware of her presence beside me, the occasional, barely perceptible rustling of her body beneath the belt, seeking comfort. Naturally our elbows would touch. Even when she'd ask me, with a single laugh, to get up and let her by, I'd avoid looking directly at her like you avert your eyes from the sun. Wouldn't want her to think I was thinking of her, anyway.

I could swear I heard her speak perfect English and she looked about as American as a Cadillac. But at a certain point she drew a diary out of her bag and laid it on her tray table and wrote in it in French with a pink fucking pen, I'm not kidding. I stole a glance over her knuckles and I saw telltale, vowelly ending words on the page: peu, beau, lui.

She drank nothing but water. She ate her dinner, the beef or the chicken, with great interest but when the drinks came she asked for water. Water before and water after. There was water on her tray and yet she asked for more water. With an utterly endearing smile and shrug: water. As though she could never hope to fully quench the thirsty beast inside her.

I ordered whiskey, wine. Coffee.

When we were landing in Chicago and we both gazed out the same window through the patchy clouds to the roads and rivers below she asked me if I was staying in Chicago. Shocked to hear her talking, I said yes, then: Well, no, I'm going to New York. New York! she exclaimed without purpose.