Monday, April 6, 2009

A Pointed Tooth, Hair, and a Face like the Face of Someone I Used to Know

I was sitting alone when it happened, when she approached me. I still cannot say whether she was very pretty or not. One of her front teeth had been sharpened to a point. I remember that. And her face looked like a tarnished, distorted version of a face I used to love. But still, I’m not sure if she was ugly, or, for that matter, if she was pretty. I know that I looked at her hair for a long time. It was just like the hair of a woman I once knew.

She came up to me and asked me about my family. She said that I looked like someone who might have something to say about his family. As it turned out I didn’t. In fact I didn’t have much to say about anything. I was confused and a bit frightened. Women hardly ever speak to me. And so I looked down and said something, I’m not sure what, but I know it wasn’t what she had hoped for. I never respond the way people hope I will, or how I think they hope I will. I try very hard to, it just never works. But she stayed, she didn’t walk away. She began telling me about her family, and how an uncle of hers had recently lost all his hair. We both laughed at this, and then we both became quiet. I thought hard for something to say, something about an uncle of mine, for instance, or my grandmother, but nothing came to me. I just kept looking down. And then she began to speak again. She talked about an earring she had lost and how she had asked someone for help finding it and how he had laughed at her for asking for help. She talked about how tired she was and how she didn’t know why she was doing any of the things she was doing. She didn’t say exactly what it was that she was doing but I had an idea.

Eventually she stopped talking. She just stopped and looked at me. I couldn’t look her in the eyes. She stood up and said goodbye. I nodded and tried to say something similar. When she walked away all sorts of things went through my mind. I tried to remember what she looked like but couldn’t. Her tooth I remembered, and her hair, and the way her face reminded me of another face. I thought about one of my uncles and about how I’d always hated him. I thought about earrings and how ugly they make people look and about how tired I had become too. I forget what I said to her but I can remember almost every word she said to me. I can’t remember what she looked like, though.

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