Do you find it interesting?
Of course I do. I still haven't been anywhere.
He notices that her simple sleeveless shirt and skirt have dulled
a bit with age and inadequate washing. Freckles dot her face, especially
under her eyes, as if hinting that eventually wrinkles will reside
there. Her pigtail - no, ponytail - has disappeared in favor of stringy
bangs that run rampant down the sides of her face.
Soon you'll be old enough to travel, he says.
Old enough, but not rich enough. Her mouth yaws to the left as
she spits at the sidewalk, a crude gesture no doubt learned from a
friend or family member, but he is saddened rather than irritated.
He looks at his watch. I have to go soon, he says. It's
not good if I miss my connection.
Would you die?
That's never been determined one way or the other. But I nearly have,
a few times.
Conversation has dried up, at least for now. If he was feeling
more gallant, he would invite her for a cup of tea, or at least buy
her a small present, but such gestures seem wholly inadequate, hypocritical.
Instead he extends his hand again.
I really do want to read our notebook when you're finished with it,
he says. Next time I'm here.