Dialogue – Diverted Attention”Her hands are like icicles on the horizon,” he said and took a drag of coffee. She nodded blankly at him, barely registering the observations that swayed his tongue and flavored his mouth.
“Do you see how she’s shaking?” he asked, not taking his eyes off the porcelain doll ordering dinner across the room. He fumbled down distractedly to the table, found his plate, and devoured a fry in the half-reflective way that dressed all his actions.
To this, she murmured a vague, “mm hmm….” It was enough of a reply to fill the empty space he controlled over the table, but still enough to be noncommittal and inattentive. She reached through the maze of their cups and plates to spear a french-fry on his plate. She shifted her weight. The chair rocked under her, threatening her already uncertain balance and attempted grace in one blow. She shifted the feet of the chair, hoping to find some sort of equilibrium, but again the seat rocked under her, still precarious.
“Look at the angles to her face,” he went on, working his words around mouthfuls. His eyes never wavered in their stiff critical stare of wonderment and interest. “There’s just something about her that screams vulnerability.”
“Hmm.” She swallowed the hot, gritty remains of her tea. Her cup clunked as it hit the table, jolting the settled objects, but his attention never strayed from the Raphael-wonder. She picked up her croissant, then lowered it back to her plate seeing the tanned lines of her knuckles holding her fingers in place. She turned her palm up and followed the trained lines that traced her destiny.
“You really have to wonder about people like that,” he continued in the silence. “How they think, how they feel, how they see the world. Don’t you ever just wish you could go up and introduce yourself to a stranger and learn their entire life’s story?”
She repossessed her croissant and took a voice-saving mouthful, nodding her head disjointedly in case he possessed the consciousness to glance at her tongue-trapped tangle on the other side of the table. She sneakily slid her feet out of her shoes and flexed her toes in their freedom under the tablecloth tiered table. The ache retched in her bones and her thoughts drowned in the haze of mid-stride wonderment, but not before the emptiness and pain of dismissal.