Written with the prompts: just a dream away, as inanimate as a lamp, overlapping, you know the one, hurry/curry/flurry, urgent information, save time, new friends, three years ago, don’t you want more, live like, wander off, never made me feel inept, never been there before, area 51, guarded opinions
I’ll remember that night three years ago for many reasons, but also, it was the first time I ever ate curry. It was red curry, which I thought was odd. I ordered it because the server told me it would be much milder than the green curry, and that just seemed counterintuitive to me. Indeed, it was a surprising end to the evening, landing at a restaurant where I’d never been before with my new friends.
I’d been in a hurry because in a flurry of broken promises, I had finally ended it with Edgar. Edgar often appeared as inanimate as a lamp, you know, if the lamp’s not plugged in. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Edgar had his good points. Some nights he read poetry to me. Usually e.e. cummings or E.A. Poe. If I asked him, he’d sing James Taylor songs, too. But jeez, when I tell him I need him to bring my car back in time for me to get to choir practice, well, I mean it. I have heard this story too many times—about how human beings aren’t intended to travel at high speeds, that one can’t really think on the freeway, and when he sees the sun melting into the red horizon he has to stop, he simple has to, and he would not apologize for following the dictates of his heart. Fine. So I disarmed him of the car keys and told him to go. I knew he expected I would take him back the next day, because I often did. I can’t deny it. But this night turned out differently.
When I got to the church, the choir was finished, I’d missed practice all together, and I was so disappointed. I stood in the parking lot, watching everyone else drive away, and I saw a strange seam opening up in the sky, like an overlapping wave rushing onto the beach, and a flood of orange and pink erupted over my head, and then there were two young women who looked to be about my age, standing there beside me. They had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes, and their skin looked a little bit blue, but I chalked that up to the brightness of the flood lights in the church yard. They said they were new in town, and they wanted sushi or sashimi, or maybe some curry. Did I know where they could get curry?
I told them, yes, there was an Indian restaurant I’d heard about downtown, but no—wait a minute—I suddenly remembered there was a Thai restaurant on the next block. They asked me to come with them, and I said, oh, no, thank you, but I’ve already eaten.
“Don’t you want more?” the taller one asked, and it seemed she was asking me about something bigger, not just dinner, but about a hunger for life. And in that moment I realized I’d been living like a refugee, subsisting on table scraps of affection and pretending I had enough. But it wasn’t enough. I did want more.
So I left my car and my inadequacy at the church parking lot, and we went to the Thai restaurant and we had a feast of spicy sauces, shrimp and cod, sweet potatoes, coconut, and peas. Then we walked down to Thrifty’s and had double-dipped ice cream cones.
My new friends had urgent information to impart and to save time they embedded the code right in our meal. I realized everything I needed and wanted was just a dream away. Oh, I do keep my opinions guarded, but my new friends never made me feel inept. They were two of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, I can assure you of that.
After that Edgar and everyone like him just seemed to wander away, and I didn’t even miss them. My new friends had to return to Area 51, but they’ll emerge again soon. Watch the sky. You’ll know.