What the hell are you looking at?! These words are dusted with rage in my head as I sit there, staring back. I can see a hamster doing cartwheels in his head. I take mental notes. I really should jot them down, though. He carries himself as an intellectual. Being book-smart is all he has. He crosses his legs then opens the Financial Times. “Ah, one of those”, I think to myself. He should really invest his money in some fashion sense. I chuckle as I picture an old girlfriend of his. A year ago, standing there in the doorway of their bedroom as she watches him getting dressed. She lets out a sigh as he reaches for a shirt. It’s the same shirt he’s wearing now. It amazes me how people never learn, they never see the signs.
Oh boy, Christmas in August. I swivel in my chair to look at the newly arrived American couple. King and queen of the world. He wants bananas and skimmed milk with his cereal. Cholesterol, check. She orders eggs Benedict and coffee. Sex once a year, check. He’s Jewish, she’s not. Mother rolling over in grave, check. She walks over to where the periodicals are. I pull my mom closer and whisper “What are gossip magazines? Alex”. She bursts out laughing as she sees the lady coming back with every known gossip rag known to man. She reaches the table and her husband looks up at her. I want to jump for cover. It’s like watching a horror movie, you want to scream at the actors not to open that door. You just know what’s going to happen. He asks her to get him a newspaper. My god, he’s suicidal! She heads back and he turns around to say something. No man, no. It’s like a car crash, you just can’t peel your eyes away. They don’t have the paper he asked for, so he asks his wife what they have. “I don’t know what they have. But, you have legs, dipshit. Use them!”, I don’t really know if he heard me or not. It’s a miracle no one is dead yet. I try to picture what they’re like at home. Passing each other in the hall, delegating the day’s chores, taking turns with each section of the paper. Everything is routine, like a checklist. The food is finally here. They chose to sit on the biggest couch with the most inconvenient table. I smile as I watch them, half squatting to reach the table.
I shut my eyes, I’ve lost interest in them. But, then a phone rings. I’m annoyed by all the noise they’re making. I hear her answer it. I tap my mom on the shoulder and say “They have a kid in college.” I open my eyes, my mom is giving me an intrigued look. That’s when we both hear the husband, through a mouthful of his wife’s eggs Benedict, “Hey, honey. How’s everything? Do you like your professors?” I lean my head back and smile. God, I love travelling.