Monday, February 04, 2008


I realise of course that I have submitted. There is little or nothing left of the me that came home from Australia. Even at the airport I felt my skin melting in this heat; my certainties slipping away.

I didn't realise it until I met this girl. Fresh from Louisana. She left her fiance there and came back to work for a year.

Her family says, dump him.

Her family says, don't talk to him again.

Her family says he is American and they have no concept of marriage.

Settle down here and be one of us. What, you think you're too good for us?

She says, but I love him. She says, but he is the one. She says, I'm going back. And there's nothing you can do to stop me.

And she cries herself to sleep every night.

She talks to me, a random stranger on the abdominal machine. I was not doing it properly and she showed me how to. This was so rare (the fitness instructors don't tell you anything unless you pay them a lot of money and book them for at least 12 sessions) that we started chatting.

I found out all about her. About how this country is strange and the cars gleam arrogantly in the bright sunshine and how the sky is gray and lowering and angry and how the people spit in your eye if you let them.

And how it's all about money. How much you earn. How well you're doing. What watch do you wear? What shirt? What phone do you carry?

How much did you pay for that?

How much?

How much?

You disappear in the numbers.

She goes for movies alone. Sits in coffee shops with a book. Thinks a lot. Tries to figure everything out.

The yearning to be with you, I do what I have to do...

The smile cracks.

So I reach out and touch her hand. Reassure her about her fiance. Tell her about my own cousin who was separated from her fiance, then husband, for a year, and how it just made them stronger...tell her stories about how things worked out.

And I ask her to come to Backyard to listen to Mark.

It's Monday.

Thank God it's Monday.

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