Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 163

deadly behemoths that stuck out of his mouth like Dracula toys. With anyone else these would be fighting words but she was so gentle when she spoke as if remarking on a sunrise or morning rain. He let it slide. He did that with her a lot.

‘Do you know what you want?’

The waitress’s voice was just above but might as well have come from outer space. He stared at the waxy folds of the paper in his hands, the words feeling heavy.

‘I do.’

There is a limit to how much stillness an individual can stand. It varies but it is most certainly there, that threshold between acceptable quiet and uncomfortable waiting. This waitress must have been a Zen master. She stood serenely as he sat almost catatonic. Most people would have nudged but she gave him this time to catch on himself as if all of the answers in the universe were contained in the palms of his hands.

He pointed out several items and she swept away as silently as she’d stood.

‘Did he really read it?’

‘Yes. He read it.’

Her hands were so much smaller than his.

‘Did you?’

She didn’t answer right away. Instead she took the time to pat powder on her cheeks, adjust lipstick before the arrival of her beverage and midmorning snack. He never questioned this ritual or the need.

He looked down at the card, floppy eared dog with the sidelong