Burying the Survivors


At the restaurant every other table was vacant but set for parties of two and four.  Everything is always about what might happen.  Otherwise, there were people eating and drinking and talking like they'd known one another for years.
      I think I'd misplaced Thursday afternoon the day before.  This happens to me sometimes.  I'll forget the day, month, or year; how old I am, etc.  Part of the problem is I don't sleep well.  I can't sleep three hours straight without waking up disoriented.
      The other part of the problem is I don't write things down.  Everyone I know is always scribbling into a calendar or a planner.  I don't even know where you can buy a calendar; maybe a drugstore would have one.
      I'd been walking around all day like this, at least four hours behind everyone else.  I was lucky to have found the restaurant.  Over my shoulder I heard someone say they were evacuating Cuba.  This was one of the people eating and drinking and talking.
      There was another hurricane on the way is why, someone else said.
      I wanted to comment on the hurricanes, something clever, environmental.  Something about how the Caribbean was good water for fleeing through, how the gulf-stream was to blame.  What I wound up saying is A man has no business planning a canal in Panama either backwards or forwards.
      This is when the person across from me started to ask questions.
      The person across from me was someone I'd gone to school with.  I ran into her recently and she suggested this get together.  I think she wanted sex.
      Sometimes women want to do this with you.  There's no telling why.
      I answered her questions by arranging my place setting into a tic-tac-toe board.  I had to borrow the person across from me's butter knife to do it right.
      What I said out loud was if a plane crashed on the border of Cuba and Panama during a hurricane where would you bury the survivors.
      After I said that I walked over to the table where people were discussing Cuba's evacuation plans and said, This is what happens to you when you don't write things down, when you don't even know where to get yourself a calendar.
      The Cubans looked at me and said I should get some sleep.
      I walked back to my table, picked up the menu, and decided on the steak frites.  I thought I might have to explain myself.  I thought the person across from me might deserve an explanation, that maybe she was entitled to one.  This get together was her idea and she probably wanted sex afterwards.
      The person across from me pulled on her wine glass, set it back down, and feigned an indignation that was embarrassing for the both of us.
      This woman was beautiful in a way that makes something like that palatable.  She had hair and eyes and lips and all the rest of it, the womanly parts.  Next the waiter brought us our entrees and laid them out on the table.
      I told her they should name this next hurricane after you.  What made it classy is I'd raised my glass while I said this.
      She responded by picking up one of her peas and holding it in the air.  She rolled it between her thumb and forefinger and looked me in the eye.  I didn't know what was happening, how I should respond.  I tried to listen to what the Cubans at the other table were discussing but heard nothing.  I felt like I'd been on a plane for two or three days straight without landing.  I felt like I could've been anywhere on earth.  The woman across from me held the pea like that for a solid minute and then placed it in the middle square.  She did this with a certain flair, panache.
      This woman, she was X.  
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