“I have one question.” She looked at me with something between dread and vexation which merged and culminated in a purely “Darla-like” expression.
“I know, I know but really just one question,” I pleaded. Darla leaned back and gave me a slight nod. Taking that as permission I blurted it out, “What happened to men?”
Her pale skin blanched to a sudden milky gray and her beautiful sculptured lips turned a leaden color her smile conveyed a sort of evil satisfaction. “Nothing, they’ve always been that way, you’ve just noticed. That’s what I hate about optimists.”
Darla’s voice sounded as if she were down a deep echoing well.
Carlos, our usual waiter, was walking up to our table. I could tell he was having a bad day because his usually pristine and pressed black trousers were splattered with something shiny from the knee down. His small white apron had a washed out yellow looking blob almost dead center. I felt myself turn red because the stain was dead center so I hoped whatever hit him hadn’t been painful.
“Stop blushing you idiot,” Darla whispered, “and stop looking at his crotch.”
Darla was never very nice. I looked away and tried to compose myself.
Carlos came up to me and didn’t smile. “How are you today?” he asked and I knew he didn’t care to know.
“I’ll just have a cup of coffee and whatever pie you have today,” I said squinting up at him. He had managed to stand just where the sun was painful when looking up. I though perhaps he should have been an international spy or an assassin rather than a waiter. I looked over at Darla, blinking heavily. She sat stony-eyed not acknowledging Carlos at all. “Darla will have a glass of the house wine,” I said hastily fearing she would do something unconventional.
Carlos walked away not letting me know what sort of pie to expect.
“You see?” said Darla. He’s a man and a typical one. He has had a bad day, splattering grease on his pants…
“His pants when emptying the garbage at home before he came to work. While at work some clumsy American tourist like you…
“Expatriate, I live here,”
“Tourist spills their orange juice in a projectile fashion because they saw a spider on the table so naturally, he’s a total shit to you.”
“Oh I know men are moody and take out all their frustrations on women, I was just wondering what happened to them physically.”
Darla lifted her eyebrows to me in question.
I looked about at the street, narrow hipped men with billowing shirts and long hair. “They are all different colors and heights but all look the same.”
“Perhaps you are simply become cured of obsessing over them,” Darla said.
Carlos reappeared, his face looking like it was carved in oak. He placed my coffee and blueberry pie in front of me and Darla’s wine in the center of the table. “Will that be all?” I could tell Carlos didn’t want to be standing next to the table. Darla stretched out her long gray hand and pulled the wine to her side of the table. Carols blanched visibly.
“She is here today?” asked Carlos.
“She sees you, Carlos. I’m sorry for that, truly. I’m sorry too about the clumsy American tourist.”
I was sorry too, Darla was relentless and very good in causing accidents.