Monday, October 23, 2006

Dinner conversation

We were seated in the back corner of the Thai House. It was a little Thai restaurant that we went to often when we lived in our apartment on Gold. It was only 2 blocks away then. We went much less frequently after we moved 3 blocks further. This made it nostalgic.

The dining area was a long narrow room, a wide hallway, as much as anything. Jae loves to sit in corners, so we took the booth in the back. I was talking to Jae about my day at work, and I had been noticing for the last couple minutes that her eyes were unfocused and she had a fixed little smile on her face. She wasn't listening to me. I knew why, but I didn't know what to do about it. I kept talking, beginning to babble, a little unnerved by my faux audience. Finally she blurted out, "I'm sorry. I'm distracted."

I raised my right eyebrow, that being the one I can raise, and held my hand up in between our faces, fingers spread and palm facing me, and started talking about my day, again. She laughed, and so did I.

I knew what was distracting her. Jae had the corner, which meant I had my back to the rest of the restaurant, but I had sonically discerned that there were three people sitting in the the booth one back and over. It quickly became clear that there was a young woman, her father, and her new step mother. The young woman was talking with great enthusiasm and volume.

"Neither Dad or Mom wanted us."

"You didn't want them?" the older woman asked. I didn't hear an answer from the father.

"I'm sure that's where the abuse came from," she said with a tone that suggested a glint in her eye. I sruggled not to turn and look. I was sure she was grinning.

"You were abused?" the step-mother trumpeted, the way she might have said, "They gave you a ticket for that?" I could imagine her turning open mouthed to stare at her new husband.

The young woman chuckled. "She couldn't do it herself, of course. She forced Rob into the role of disciplinarian. He had to do it. It's almost not even his fault." As if Rob had accidentally torn her dress on the playground.

"I think this convesation might be hard for your father..."

"Oh, he's heard it," she replied, in the tone you'd say, "No worries."

She giggled when she said, "rape."

It went on all through dinner, in fact, they were still at it when we left. We got up from the booth and Jae was walking in front of me. I saw her head turn towards the young woman as she passed the table, and I KNEW Jae was going to say something. I looked straight ahead and was preparing to walk around her. She slowed, but then looked ahead and picked up pace. I resumed breathing.

When we were in the parking lot, Jae looked at me.

"I was so close to leaning on the table and saying, 'Thanks for the enlightening conversation.'"

"I know," I said. "I know.

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