The coffee date
She sits in front of me at a little round table in a city mall: we meet in a fish bowl.
Today I meet an old friend. She has clean, sleak, long blond hair. It is tied tight in a bun, but many of the hairs did not make it into the structure; they have escaped the prison of the hairband that is fixed on her head. Her skin is brown, the colour of cardboard and wrinkled, her skin reminds me of the bark of an old tree.
In South Africa she is classified as white. She has a full moon face, her eyes are craters on its surface. This smiley moon woman’s hands, move like the wings of a bird in flight. This smiley moon face is dressed in burlap for her party. The old fibred sack falls lose, down from her pointy shoulders. It gives her the room she needs to dance. She takes up all of the space.
We sit opposite each other, it is her dance floor We order coffee. I am her audience. I only see an old friend who dances a one way dance. Her thin shiny bangles rattle in the air. She is a predator and she dances with her prey. I am caught in her headlights. She dances with me, an endless, one-way locomotion. Her starred earrings reflect the light that illuminates her stage. The words of her dance are thrown at me, they hook me in, she seeks a connection, but I distance myself. My body withdraws from this performance. I delink, I create a sphere around her, a bubble. I force it out of me. Inside that bubble she gestures, she talks, her bangles shine and rattle, her hair glows, her head moves. But the bubble creates a separation, I refuse to be chained-in to her solo dance. We do not connect, she floats up, away from me. She keeps gesturing, she has her moment. So be it. It happens.
She takes a sip of her coffee. For one moment she looks into my eyes, I feel the chance of a question. I breathe but there is no sound. She puts her coffee down. Her hands bangle up again. The chance of the connection has passed. Her lips form the words that see only her I, only a vertical line.
But it is I who needs her to see me… The bubble stays, the separation is defined, her hands gesture again. I pick up my handbag, my hands search in the dark void for the little travel kit. I find it, I look down and pick out a needle. I raise my hand, two fingers hold the needle. I pinch the bubble. It bursts, liquid splashes, it drips to the ground. Her hair is wet, her eyes look down. Her I lies down. I get up and walk away.
She stays at the table, soaked by her own bubble. Her pointy shoulders droop down.
Her dance is over.
Her prey has become a changeling.
I become taller with every step I take away from the person I once thought close.