Saturday, August 18, 2012

baggage handler

As I crushed dried coriander leaves between my palms, I remembered something.  A small moment in a night, some two years ago. 

It was a Friday, a few of us went out for pizza and drinks - celebrating a students final placement. Truth be known, I usually shy away from things like this, but it was John who had asked me, so at the time the decision was simple.

Out in the back beer garden, we sat at a round wooden-slatted table - far too big for the six of us.  My work friend who was sitting next to me had to leave, so I ended up sitting in a lonely quarter of the table, trying to reach out with giggles and smiles.  John sidled up next to me, saying something about not leaving me on my own - I thought it was nice of him, and I appreciated the gesture - I think he could tell I was feeling uncomfortable. We were eating our pizzas, he talked to me about lots of things - come to think of it, some strange things; like how he liked girls with long hair: "the longer the better" he said; he spoke about his family and I reciprocated.

I pushed my plate of untouched pizza slices toward the centre of the table - I urged the boys to eat my leftovers, assuring them I had eaten enough. John noticed I had removed all the coriander pieces out from under the drizzly melted cheese mess, "don't you like coriander?" he asked, "my Grandmother told me if there's one thing for certain, it's that all women like coriander." I found this a strange thing to say, but brushed it off, "nope, not me" I said. 

At that point, he should have known I was different. 

And I should have known he was looking for a kind of long haired woman who likes coriander.

I wonder if he even remembers anything of me; if random moments ever briefly hit him, blinding, like a shard of light breaking through the clouds on an overcast day.

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