Friday, May 30, 2008

I'll do Graffitti if you sing to me in French

Her bedroom was on the second floor of a brick building in Berkeley. From the street I could see through the curtains and into her room. My view prevented me from seeing anything other than the yellow coloring of her ceiling. I wondered if she was in the room already. I scuffed the sole of my shoe on the ground and began to walk the fifteen blocks home.

We'd spent the evening together. I'd met her at her house at 7pm and then we went out to dinner. We walked from her apartment off of Derby to Tuk Tuk Thai, a local and cheap Thai restaurant. The restaraunt was located on Shattuck one of the main streets in Berkeley. The restaraunt was large and open. I liked it for its decent fare, both in price and quality of food.

When looked at the food menu for several minutes and when the waiter came over I ordered the vegetarian Panang and she got the Pad Thai.

"How is your food," I asked, breaking the silence, after we had recieved our dishes.

"Its okay. I like the Pad Thai a little spicier though. It tastes a little funny. I wonder if they put fish sauce in it."

"Let me try it," I said sticking my fork out. She picked up her plate and leaned it towards me. I shoveled a small bit of noodle and tofu onto my utensil. Once the food was secure on my fork I moved the fork around. "Here comes the airplane," I said as I put the food into my mouth. She groaned and rolled her brown eyes. "It tastes okay. I don't taste fish sauce. Its not very spicy."

"Its okay. I like the Pad Thai at that restaurant down the street a little better. Have you ever been there? I think its called Red Chaba?"

"No, I haven't."

"Its really good. The Pad Thai is way spicier and it has more peanuts."

We fell into a silence. I pushed some rice around on my dish. I looked at her. She was looking down at her food. Her brown hair covered her young face. Although she was only a year younger than me at 23, her skin gave her a softness that made five more years melt away. A wave of emotion came over me. I wanted to say something to her but couldn't seem to get the words out. I wondered what she was thinking. I wanted to hear her say she was thinking of me, of desire, of wanting. She looked up and I turned my eyes away.

"How is the band going," she asked.

"Its okay. We recently got a new bass player. His name is Arthur. I met him at the art store, he's a clerk there. I used to go into the art store all the time. He came into the restaurant once and I bought him a couple of drinks. We went out to the Missouri Lounge once and became occasional drinking buddies. About a month ago he told me that he played bass. I told him that we had a spot open in the band and asked him if he wanted in."

"That's good. When do you think you'll be playing a show?"

"I really don't know. I'd like the band to play in a the next month. We just have to get Arthur a caught up on the songs."

"How many times have you played so far?"

"Well, we played once in Mike's basement, were you there for that?"

"No. I don't think so."

"Well there was that one, and then two at the Stork Club, and one at the Acme. So I guess four all together."

"That's pretty good."

"Yeah, I think so. What about you? Do you play any instruments?"

"When I was in high school I played the violin. I was the second seat in the high school orchestra. My music teacher wanted me to join the county orchestra, and to practice more but I lost my desire after a while."


"Why what?"

"Why did you lose your desire to play?"

"I don't know. I guess it just lost its appeal." She shrugged her shoulders and pushed around her noodles. I looked for our waiter. I waved my hand for him.

"Yes," the waiter asked.

"Can we get the bill?"

"Sure, one moment." The waiter went off for the bill and returned a few minutes later. The passage of time was spent in silence.

"How much is it?"

"Don't worry about it. I'll get it."

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, of course. You can buy dinner next time." I put down a twenty dollar bill and grabbed my hoodie from the back of the chair. I threw it on. "Are you ready?"

"Yeah, let's go." She grabbed her blue sweater from the chair next to her and put it on. I paid close attention to the sound of the zipper running up her middle. She moved away from the table and towards the door. I looked down at the floor, which was made of an unassuming white tile. The tiling led my eye to her shoes, they were black slip ons. Shaped like ballerina shoes I wondered if she had ever been a dancer. I opened the door for her and hoped that she would skip out onto the sidewalk and pirouette. My hopes were met with disappointment. She stood on the tarmac and looked up towards the sky. I let my fingers slide off the door handle and began walking down the street next to her.

It was a cold. It was late spring, but there was a slight breeze that chilled my body. I pulled my hood over my head. I dropped my hand to my side then looked down at it. "Should I slip it in hers," I thought to myself.

"Are you cold," I asked.

"A little. I wish I had worn a warmer shirt."

I rubbed her arm for a moment and then let my arm fall back to my side. I was worried that my nervousness would reveal itself. We walked most of the way to her house in silence. At moments I would start to speak, I would think of things to say, but I would let the words die in my mouth before they came to life on my tongue.

She turned towards me when we reached the front of her house.

"Thanks for dinner."

"Uh yeah no problem." I moved towards her. She turned her body to the side and hugged me.

"Stay in touch. I'll see you soon," she said. She pivoted away and ran to her door. "Bye," she shouted as she went inside.

I stood outside on the street. "I should have said something," I thought to myself. The walk home was cold. The breeze continued to blow. It kept me slightly chilly.

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