I was to meet her at 11:00 sharp; I sat alone at 12:02 in a small downtown café stunt with movement. Little was in transit and as it should be, no one comes to this café to hurry. I look around, a couple probably good friends or lesbians sit laughing in a corner playing what appears from my passing knowledge of the game the remnant of bridge. One with far more style wears a silk scarf over her day suit a shot of white apparent in her dark grayish blonde hair a highlight of god, gods little highlights I think to myself. Women seem to get these patterns more often the men graying from the front, but this women of all these people stands out most as she laugh, brushing her bangs back with one hand. The other women has wavy white hair and appears to be at least five to ten years older, maybe sisters, but I’ve never been very good judging age.
My glasses have started to break in the past three days and I am at a loss to fix them. Of the two women only one is drinking a coffee, a fact I at first found interesting, but looking around of the entire tables in this small corner of the world only two or three of them have been drinking anything. Another couple this time I’m certain man and wife are processing a daily cross work, I begin to think, their story within my mind. This couple comes to the same café day in and out their shared pot of hardy warm tea.
This coffee shop is a special brand of quirky serving almost every brand of tea in the same small ceramic pot two loose teacups hung to the side; I’ve been here before, very Middle West. The couple mostly to themselves whittle away at their own crosswords, I like to think this is their routine, tea, crosswords, home, lunch, nap, jeopardy only to brush up on any latent knowledge they may be missing between them, eat dinner, read their separate books in separate rooms little left to discuss in their separate lives together, but I couldn’t be sure they left before I could ask them. Not that I would have but I internalize the possibility. I look up from my inner thoughts and suddenly the café has been invaded by what I affectionately refer to as City-iots, mid-twenties, semi-intellectuals in over priced designer labels and fashion frames, even though they have no prescription they wear glasses to appear educated, I suppose late nights in a college library could cause a stigmatism. Sweat shirts advertising Tommy and DKNY mix in with GAP and FUBU, visitors must find this eclectic I find it nauseating, I’m reminded my glasses real prescription have become loosened again and remove them to fake the polish I have perfected to mask adjusting the broken arm, I replace the focus to my eyes.
I have come to this once settled café, a zoo of middle aged women, college seniors, young couples far too innocent to understand the life commitment it will take to have the baby they carry around as an accessory, and younger preteen girls dressed in short skirts and crop tops, bleached blond sharks in a pool of middle American wastage. I have come recently to refer to these under developed over manipulated advertising wet dreams as “prosti-tots” to young to realize the effects of their actions.
I’ve been waiting almost two hours before Viviane arrives, I have agreed against my better judgment to write the memoirs of a woman I hardly know, though she herself was and always will remain a part of me. At 73 years old the woman before me remains as picturesque and glamorous as the photographs of her youth. The grey business suit, ivory silk blouse and heavy costume jewelry is only offset by her youthfully aged tan skin and bright red lips. I remember moments from my own childhood, the red lipstick tube and her application ritual; first the bottom lip full across never outside the line years of experience, transfer slowly pressing lips partly together finished with a sweep across the top lip. Not a flaw, finished in perfection as always though now she stands before me much more frail than I have seen her but confidant
“Good Afternoon,” She kisses my cheek “boy you are getting husky aren’t you?” shaking my shoulder to instill the wisdom, a lifetimes fear of FAT. Why is it they always want you to agree with the insult?
“You look great Grandma!” I lie. It had been a long time since my childhood and a lot about my life remains unknown to her ears, much I would prefer unsaid. “Have a seat,” I must walk around the table to help her into her seat “I can go order for us in a moment”
Her stature surprises me, she was so frail and appeared lost, not the women I had idolized from youth, I was never the strong one and now I was pulling out a chair for a women whose life was dedicated to self preservation at all costs. She allowed it. The moment halted again and in this moment the room was entirely empty. “So I assume a recorder would be alright?” pulling a pocket tape recorder from my leather man tote, yes that’s right some men carry purses its not against any fashions laws though some should be, placing it directly in between us far enough away as to not infringe the conversational space of the small table.