Short Visit


The old man sat at the table, suspiciously looking back and forth between his wife and the stranger. He was already unhappy at the interruption of his morning ritual drinking coffee on the front porch.

Scowling at the women, he pinched his thin lips together over surprisingly white dentures.

“What’s this all about? What is this going to cost me?”

He tapped his finger on the table, emphasizing the questions. His teeth were loose in his mouth making slapping noises when he spoke.

The stranger sitting across from the man shifted uncomfortably on her chair. Out of nervous habit, she glanced at the door and at the bag resting by her feet. Straight out the door and down two steps, she reviewed her escape plan mentally.

“I thought you knew I was coming,” the stranger stammered out wiping her sweaty palms on her pants.

The man reached for his cup of coffee. An oily layer formed at the top leaving question as to the amount of coffee-ground sludge that had settled to the bottom.

As the man wrapped his fingers around the cup handle, the stranger stared at his hand in a fascinated horror, the same as a passerby might stare at train wreck. The stranger was me and it was his fingernails that caught my attention. Quite simply, I could not pull my eyes away from his thick and yellow nails with jagged edges like a Japanese mountain range, peeling back from his skin.

Looking away would have been proof of self-control and social sophistication, but it was impossible.

#no apologies #IyamwhatIyam