Updated: Nov 16, 2020
…I plant my elbows on the faded, cream table and drop my face into my splayed hands. Shelby assumes a similar position across the table- solidarity. My mom is the only one with the coveted ability to sit upright… Show off.
In the most precious little brunch spot you could imagine, our waiter serves the first of three courses: fruit, cookies, and muffins. I manage a smile and nod before dropping back into my boozy stupor. Whyyyyy?
At the one other table on this adorably rustic balconette, a new couple fumbles excitedly over each other’s answers… “No way, MY favorite Inuit hymnal is…”
Novelty plays in their favor; their self-absorption in ours.
Shelby and I take turns braving the tiny staircase downstairs to admire the décor of the bathroom as we rid ourselves of last night’s stupidity. We’re keeping an impressive tally:
That should do it, I think, finally. There’s nothing left within me but the membranes of my organs themselves. I feel a glimmer of hope as I climb the stairs to my untouched plate. Law of conservation of matter stands: matter cannot be created nor destroyed. And there’s no matter left within me.
… But then I never completely warmed to science nor it to me. Betrayal. I sit but a few moments before my mouth feels hot and my brow sprouts beads of sweat. Shelby attempts a laugh and tells me to knock it off.
Fake gagging isn’t funny, you goob.
But I threw up my sense of humor on my third survey of the bathroom. And as soon as she realizes I’m not kidding, she flees, stumbling down the narrow ‘case.
Here! My mom points to the cylindrical flower vase on the table. It’ll do. I grab the glass vessel and empty what have to be my bowels themselves inside.
I look up with dread, expecting our smitten neighbors to be horrified, recoiling. But the newly enamored pair carries on admiring each other’s quirks. His lashes. Her affinity for smacking her lips between words. They. Didn’t. Hear. A. Thing. To be fair, as far as public retching goes, I was very quiet, delicate even. So I sit, perversely content to remain undiscovered. But then I become aware of the hideous fact that I’m still cradling a warm, glass vase of sick in my lap.
Serendipitously, it’s that moment that a wavy, black mop of hair bobs up the staircase. Shelby’s still MIA, somewhere beyond the scope of the balconette. Maybe she decided to explore Europe with new people, or alone even. I wouldn’t blame her. Adios, Shelby, un placer conocerte…
But I don’t have time to ponder her whereabouts. The waiter is coming and my shame reeks in my lap… With all the innovation of the selfie-stick creator, I get an idea. Just as he rounds the landing, I sling my pea coat over my lap. Subtle. He eyes what appears to be a small tower in my lap. Incidentally, the similarly shaped flower vase is absent from the table. He struggles to keep his eyes from the cylindrical bulge but says nothing of it. So professional.
“Eh… Todo está bien, chicas?”
“…Sí,” I smile.
“Vale,” he turns slowly, returning to his post downstairs. He doesn’t come to check on us again.
…I probably shouldn’t go back.
*DISCLAIMER: I did sneak the vase to the bathroom and clean it before restoring it to its rightful place on the table… I’m not a complete scoundrel.