Archive for February, 2012
Ala couldn’t remember if she locked the front door. She didn’t know where her purse was. She even forgot whose yard she was standing in for a moment; seeping with joy she watched her hand graze over her warm shoulder and removed one strap of the sundress. He stayed reclined, unmistakably watching her but exemplified no change in attitude. She spun around, her bare feet touching the smooth stoned patio, and dropped the other strap. She lifted all of her hair and moved her hips from side to side. She was surprised at the ease of her movement. Of course if a giant mirror were placed in front of her while she was dancing, she would most likely stop. Not tonight though.
She spun around and the dress fell off of her. She hadn’t planned for this because of all she had eaten that evening. She immediately jumped into the pool. It was so quick that he, a little drunk by now, must’ve thought she fell in.
She saw the quivering blob of him standing at the edge of the pool through the water as she surfaced.
“Are you all right?”
“Of course,” she said, spitting a stream of water up toward him. “You didn’t have to get up.”
“Would you like one more drink? It’s such a beautiful night.”
“If you’re sure,” he said. “But I’m not sure how much more charm I can bring tonight.”
She led him to the backyard. The pool glowed as the veiny shadows danced up on the cement sides.
“Have a seat. I’ll make you a drink,” she said for the first time in her life.
He took off his suit jacket and bent down softly, making sure the chair wouldn’t scoot out from under him.
Ala watched him through the kitchen window as she poured too much of the vodka from the freezer into glasses and splashed ginger ale on top.
She took a sip and could barely get it down, but decided it was good enough if they were already buzzed. She walked out carefully, now back in her mules. She loved the way he looked, reclining back on the bamboo lawn chair, and deep relaxation spreading across his face.
“Here you are.”
He took a sip.
“Wow—the old standby.” She winked and set her glass on the glass table next to his chair. She felt feverish, without any traces of sickness, just a pressing heat running up and down her whole body. She knew she couldn’t sit down, she would explode, or self combust. Her greatest fear for the moment was that he would say it was time to go, to wrap up the night. That couldn’t happen. He had unbuttoned part of his shirt and had removed his shoes and socks. He certainly didn’t look like he was going anywhere. She couldn’t be sure though.
She wanted to move into this barn with him. She didn’t want to go back to live with her parents. But then, she wasn’t living with them. She was living on her own for now in a beautiful house. She could do whatever she wanted.
After a faster song the whole place got up and danced to, he gestured toward her shoes.
“Would you like to leave?”
“I think so.”
The drive home seemed to linger on and she was happy for it. Now, even the headlights couldn’t make much sense of where they were driving, it was so dark. She was impressed that he could navigate through it. Soon buildings started to make sense and she started to recognize streets, to her dismay. She got nervous when he turned onto the block where Emmanuel’s house was. She did not want to say goodbye. She did not want to admit that this was just a date.
She looked up at the house and saw that she had left every light on. He turned off the engine and looked at her. Of course she wanted a kiss, and more. Not necessarily sex, her feeling wasn’t that primal urge, it was more that she wanted to know that when he left, he wasn’t going far.
“Alright.” She bent forward to step out of both shoes and picked them up. She felt his arm around her back and the other scooping up her legs. She nearly lost her breath. She had never been carried before and could feel his heart beating through his warm shirt.
“You don’t have to carry me.”
“We’ll be there in no time.” She closed her eyes and felt the predictable thudding of his feet hitting the ground. They approached a white barn with the yellow light she had seen from far away pouring over the entrance. He opened the door for her and she stepped inside.
There was a stage with a three-piece band and a singer wearing a black sequined tunic. Milk crates were turned on their sides and people sat on them, swaying to the jazz music. The bar had large canisters set up with fruit floating in between the bubbles. He saw a beat up chair in the corner and they had a seat, sharing the cushion. Ala couldn’t recognize the song, but when the next one began, she knew it was Bali Hai and perked up.
He took her hand and led her to the middle of the floor. They swayed more than danced and she felt her cheek resting on his shoulder. He placed his hand just above her hip and, she noticed, kept it there through the song. When it was over, they went to the makeshift wet bar and had Fizzy Drops, which to Ala tasted like Lemon Drops with champagne.
She winked and took a bite. It was, of course, as decadent as she knew it would be and she forgot about her vow to diet all summer long. Her watch caught her eye and she registered that it was ten thirty. She had no idea it had gotten that late. He saw her.
“I don’t have to bring you back yet, do I?”
“I don’t think so. But the deal was dinner.”
“What if I promise you something just as charming as this dinner?”
“I can’t really imagine it.”
He paid the bill and waved goodbye to the old woman, now wiping down the countertop.
They walked outside and all around her was deep black except to a tiny yellow light coming from a few yards away.
“That’s where we’re going. Should we drive?”
“I wouldn’t mind a walk,” she said, pushing the imagery of what she now looked like in the dress after that meal, out of her mind. They took eachtother’s hands, more out of not being able to see where they were going, than romance. She felt herself stepping on all kinds of grass, hay, and bugs, something that felt like a potato, and realized that wearing mules wasn’t the smartest plan. She also hadn’t planned on being in the middle of nowhere in the dark either.
He most have sensed this and stopped.
“Take your shoes off.”
“What?” The heat was swelling up around her and because she couldn’t see, she wasn’t sure which direction his voice was coming from.
“Go ahead, take them off.”
“No, I just have read so much about the rainforest preservation over the years and the mountain chains and the Ayeyawady River. It all sounds so captivating, it would be impossible to not get carried away there.” She was surprised she had remembered so much about Burma and was glad, because only talking about the temple would make her sound crazy.”
“When are you hoping to visit? I’m assuming not during rainy season?”
“Probably not. Are you familiar?”
“Well, I know rainy season is no good for elephant riding.”
“I’d like to go as soon as possible.”
“You’re that anxious to get carried away?”
This was a first kiss moment. Instead, she turned to the huge piece of meatloaf on her plate.
“I think I am.”
As they were finishing the meal, one of which was the best she’d ever had, the waitress brought out another large platter.
“Bananas Foster with a side of Butterscotch.”
“Thank you,” he said.
“This looks incredible. Do you need the butterscotch?”
“Apparently that’s how everyone’s been eating this since 1931, so I think so.”
“How did you even know what my name was?”
“I read your driver’s license.”
“That’s right,” she said, sitting back in the booth. She took at bite of the soufflé and the crunch on top melted her in mouth. “This is outstanding.”
“I’m glad you like it.” She took several more bites and realized there would hardly be enough left for him. Luckily, the Waldorf salad and egg salad platter arrived and he seemed to like both just fine. He brought a napkin to his lips and patted them gently. “How did your job interview go?”
“Pretty well. I got the job.”
“Really? That’s wonderful. What are your days going to be like?”
“Well, I’m sort of an estate manager.” She noticed the Pink Lemon Aid getting to her and tried to speak clearly. “I’m staying in the house you picked me up from.”
“It’s a great house.”
“I like it, so far at least. I just moved in today.”
“So, your time is going to be pretty open you’d say?”
“I would. I really only have to make sure it is maintained and watched over. It’s a great job for right now.”
“I wouldn’t mind doing that all day.”
“It’s a good way to get to normal,” she said and decided that sounded cryptic. “What I mean is, I’m saving up for a trip.”
“Where are you planning on going?”
“It’s strange really, but I am planning on visiting Burma.”
“Let me guess, you have family there?”