Friday, October 14, 2016
i don't belong
The narrow opening sucked me in. Bricks in shades of cranberry, pomegranate and plum laid in alternating patterns of Flemish bond and herringbone paved the ground and curved up into walls and archways that cradled dark, tinted windows three stories tall to form a cul-de-sac canyon with a waterfall on the butt end. The air was heavy with moisture. Breathing the thick air slowed my movements. I strolled among empty tables covered in blazing white cloths.
I sat at the very back, my back to a vine-covered backdrop hiding wireless speakers. Aaron Neville crooned through lush, mottled leaves, “...Life is too short to have sorrow, you may be here today and gone tomorrow …” I smoothed my hands across the clean, linen surface in front of me. The stiff fibers scratched my fingertips. The bartender placed a Virgin Bloody Mary in the center of the circle, an open wound in perfection. Heat stung my tongue, as I sipped the sharp, bitter cocktail. Ice cold condensation soothed my irritated palms. I wiped the wet onto my jean-wrapped thighs.
Couples meandered into my secret garden. The women in white silk blouses and jeweled skirts, toes peeking from strappy sandals, hair sleek, unmade-up make-up. The men wore collared polo shirts and Palm Beach slacks. Wrinkle-free. Stainless. Relaxed. Nondescript waiters addressed the invaders by name. They chuckled at quips. They anticipated needs. They provided the usual. They waited. I watched while I ate butter-tender sea scallops and golden potato hash, I absorbed fluttering fingertips, deep-throated laughs, crossed ankles and slouched postures, arms that rested around shoulders, fingers that plucked at loose necklines, lips that brushed at wrists and cheeks and whispered into ears. They felt my stares. They glanced my way. Their eyes slid off to the pool on my right. The fountain with its dancing water didn’t hold their attention, either.