Friday, August 24, 2012

the Vietnamese girl

They called her one thing but her name was another. And I called her the one thing also, but I wondered about that, having two names because one was easier for foreigners to say. In those days I didn't think about things for very long, just long enough to decide, a or b, typically, and I decided unfortunate or not, I would go with the easier name. The name she had put on her own name tag. Plus her tickets were a mess and then the cooks would make a mistake and someone's order would get screwed up and then I'd get pissed and I'd call her whatever name I could quickest get my hands on. But Mister, she would say. But nothing, I would say, and she would flash me a look of the wild, and carry that grudge for perhaps the rest of the day, but never more.

And then I got to calling her by her birth name, and getting it just a bit off. Enough off that she would feel the need to correct Mister, enough off that she would flash me a touch of those hot eyes. But the flash would lack bite and she would realize half way in that I was playing, getting her goat, and then she would smile, embarrassed that she did not see, happy that I was playing. And for an hour it would be Mister this and Mister that, suddenly quite the chatterbox, and her tickets would still be a mess but not quite as bad. Or maybe I would care less about it.

I was alone when I had all four wisdom teeth dug out. Three days at home, no solids, pain meds and rest, said the doc. The first day obviously the worst. And then there came a knock on the door and she was there. Mister, please, I bring you soup. You must eat for strength. I will be Mister's nurse. And so she was and while I was in and out of sleep she was there. And one time my eyes opened and my hand was in her hand, her eye's on mine. And one time my eyes opened and her hands held a wash cloth against my chest, then lower, then lower. Mister need cleaning. Everywhere. And she smiled the half annoyed half pleased smile I had grown to accept as part of my everyday necessity.

And then one time I opened my eyes and she was naked and laying beside me. And it was dark outside which meant she had been with me all day and then some more. Please Mister, I stay with you. Always. And in my weakened state the thought of pulling her closer was irresistible. So I pulled her closer and I pulled down the covers and admired the extent of her beauty, the perfection of her form, the stunning smoothness of her skin. Somehow she was simultaneously demure and vibrant, hot and cool, powerful and vulnerable. And I could not help but kiss her.

And then in the morning when I opened my eyes I realized that it was not a dream - that I had sent away perhaps the most stunning woman, in so many ways, that I had yet to meet. I sent her home to her husband. The one of whom I had only heard her say, Too old. He too old to do __, whatever it was being discussed, and then the implied look, But you are not too old, Mister. Are you too old, Mister?

And lately I have been thinking of her because I think today I would have handled things differently. People aren't property. She wasn't his. Love is elusive. Love may be everywhere, but not always so easily gathered. And when it is delivered to your door? Gift wrapped? Youth is truly wasted on the young.

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