Lisa’s dad has a visitor from out of town - a “very important man.” He came early. He was dressed casually, in slacks, and a jacket over a mock-turtleneck. He was genial, behind tortoiseshell glasses, but he seemed ordinary, polite and a bit grandfatherly.
The adults visited, in the living room, while we girls played gin-rummy. Later, seafood was delivered from “Le Bernardin” - I got fried shrimp and 18 raw oysters on the ½ shell (yum).
After dinner, I was free to relax on Lisa’s balcony and watch the city. It was cold-ish but the breeze had gentled, it was the tail end of dusk and the fast-darkening sky was bluer than blue. Why waste time sitting inside on the Internet flipping Instagram’s flat little pictures - when there’s this stunning, 3D reality available?
The important man came out to smoke a cigar. The steady breeze blew the smoke away in the other direction. We sat silently, like astronauts in space enjoying the view of earth. The city's traffic, reduced to pinpricks of red and white light, reminded me of dewdrops along a spider web.
After a few minutes, he pointed his cigar at the view and said, “The city lights, a seductive woman, a cigar and bourbon - who needs more?”
I was momentarily confused, then I bristled, but didn’t show it. Of course, it was just fluff and flattery, a non sequitur compliment from another age - aimed at both of us really - so polished it wrapped around again to the generic. He, of course, was the romantic lead and I the seductive woman. “Is that what I am?” I asked myself, trying to transpose the male gaze.
The glass door opened, interrupting the moment and Leeza (12) came out with a tray and two huge pieces of Dutch-apple-pie à la mode for the two of us. She looked at the avuncular man and said, “I could only carry two, can I get you something?” “No thanks,” he said, raising a bar glass half full of bourbon.
A few minutes later, as Lisa and her mom were finishing the dishes. I came close-up to Lisa, flounced my hair and said, in my slinkiest voice, “I’m a seductive woman.” Lisa laughed and replied, “Well of course you are!” Her mom, Karen, also understanding the joke, rolled her eyes. I could almost feel Leeza, locked onto us, trying to decipher the context for that exchange.
Lisa says, in a conspiratorial whisper, “I think he has a thing for you,” wiggling her eyebrows.
“Marry me, DADDY,” I say, batting my eyes and wiggling vampishly.
“Shhh,” Karen says, shaking her head, finger to lips and chuckling.
Copyright © Anais vionet | Year Posted 2022