Sunday, March 30, 2008

Nylon Woman

You talk too much - she says and lets her head drop, her hair barely concealing the upturned corners of her red-rimmed mouth.  The whites of her teeth shine through her bangs as rays pushing through the clouds, teasing.

I may talk too much, but you - are so beautiful, you have to know that I feel this way.  What haven’t I done right?

I what? - a simple question.

You don’t say enough - a  complicated answer.  He does talk quite a lot, but he doesn’t realize it.  It’s almost always the next day when he remembers telling her about everything he’s done, and all that he’s going to do, but can’t remember a single thing she said to him.  I was just answering her questions, I wanted to be thorough.  I ask questions, right?  Why wouldn’t I?  And so he tortures himself, with good reason of course, because he does ask too many questions.

Just yesterday, at the dinner table with his family on a Sunday.

How is the market? - his mother asks, even though she had just visited him yesterday to  pick up a few “groceries” and left with a bottle of Vermont maple syrup.  She has fixed pancakes, eggs, bacon, and toast for dinner on this particular occasion, and placed the bottle of Vermont maple syrup, label out, directly in front of his plate.  She had bought the most expensive bottle available, sure that the money spent would impress her son and somehow make it directly into his pocket.

It’s great, just great - he pauses, continues - You know, I’ve been considered for a promotion.

Oh? - His father sets down his fork, leaving a pice of egg trapped against a syrupy soaked pancake.

And he goes on to tell his parents all about what has been happening with his job, his apartment, his close friends.  They have so many questions, and he doesn’t hesitate to answer each in full.  He leaves that day feeling as if he has truly impressed his parents, that their boy is growing up to be someone responsible.  And so it surprises him to hear her ask about his parents; how they are, what they’ve been involved in, how their health is.

My parents?  Why? - he asks, remembering that she had met his parents, though only once, on accident.  This is good, she’s asking me more questions, she wants to know more about me.

Did you have dinner with them yesterday?

Oh, yeah.  They looked good.  It was just nice to see them.  I think they really miss me; you know, I don’t go home very often.  It’s just weird to go back there when - she’s cutting me off.  What’s wrong now.

There, you’re doing it again.  Turning it around - and she begins to turn around as if to leave.

I emit a quick Wait!, and grab her arm.  She turns back

What am I turning around, what? - And he honestly doesn’t understand her.

Everything comes back to you, always.  Your parents may know you, but you really can’t say the same about them - she says in desperation.

Alright, so - he slows down to think - Can you wait here for one moment? - he asks her and turns to walk away.

She has grown tired of putting up with him and his vanity, but she waits, knowing that it would hurt him for her to leave.  It’s not always conversation and ignorance; sometimes they do things together.  The kinds of things that you would like to remember and not let go easily.  And she also knows, deep down inside where her own vanity lies, she can help him come out of it.

He walks to the end of the walkway where they have located themselves in the park.  This intersects Greenleaf avenue, where several covered benches hold people waiting for the next bus.  Next to the benches, a nylon woman slows her bike and steps off, pulling a small bag off of her shoulders.  He steps forward to the nylon woman in an attempt at conversation between strangers.

She is still waiting back at the beginning, near 30 yards, exactly where he hopes she will stay I hope she waits for me, it might mean that she really does like to be around me if she’s still there when I get back. Looking on as the nylon woman talks to her with his hands, she convinces herself that this is good.  That what he is doing, whatever it might be, is good, has to be good, because this nylon woman is smiling, with her nylon covered plastic helmet.

The only thing that the nylon does not cover is her wizened face, and he looks into it as he asks her a series of questions.  Nylon woman answers succinctly, taking long drinks of water between each yes, no, or barely longer string of words that she lets him have.  When his barrage of questions continues, she seals her water, reaches in her bag, and pulls out another bottle.

I have a spare, here - nylon woman says and hands him her extra bottle of water.

Oh, you don’t have to - he says. Why would she give me her water, she’s the one riding the bike.

Don’t - she interrupts - Just drink.

And he does.

When he arrives at the spot where she was standing, he is the only one there.  She has already left.  He waits three minutes, checks his watch, and leaves with the empty water bottle in his right hand.

Back at her house, she hears a knock on the door, which is unlocked.

Come in - she says, while keeping her eyes on her book - It’s unlocked.

Hey - he says as he steps into her room.  She is so beautiful, even now, maybe even more so with her glasses and the way that her hair is right there.  You were gone, and though... I knew you might be.  Where did you go? - he asks.

I just came here - and she sets down her book.

Did you walk the whole way? - he asks.

Yes - she says - It was nice.

Have you eaten yet? - he asks

My mother and I shared two sandwiches, half and half - she says, with the motion of her hand landing perpendicular on her other, cutting through the air.  She laughs with herself and looks up at him, placing her glasses on the book, brushing hair out of her face, smiling.

How is your mother? - he asks Did you see the nylon woman?

She is great - as her smile grows - She asked about you.  I told her everything.  What’s with the water bottle? - she adds, as if it’s the only thing she doesn’t understand about him.

Did you see the nylon woman? You must have seen her - he asks - She asked about you.

Oh? - she questions - And what did you tell her?

I told her I’d have to get back to her - he says.

What do you need to know? - she says, and leans forward.

I need to know that you saw the nylon woman, that she was beautiful, and everything she said about her family and we shared the water and she knew everything about me through the questions, and not through the answers.  I need to know that you will let this become something that you can give yourself to.  I need to know who and what and how you are.  I need to know exactly what you need to do to be you, and how I can be by your side.

I need to know how I can be by your side.  Can I be by your side? - he asks.


i am Ryan said...

I really like it Chris. Though I am a bit confused by the end. I'm not sure why he's getting back to her and why she asks what he needs to know. but I like it.

And when I read the first paragraph, just the first paragraph, it sounded like me.

kylee said...

time for chapter 2. short story 2. whatever you want to call it. because it's good.

kthompson said...

I read over your story once again and was glad I did so. Hearing the source of your inspiration, the tendency to ever question yourself, made the characters more enduring and personal. I enjoyed reading your story for it was true to life and reflected your unique writing style. Keep writing…I believe in how far you will go.