They sit at a table next to a painting of a chimpanzee wearing a ballgown and a tiara. They begin talking about how there aren’t very many good restaurants in their town, but how in the past two months, they’ve gone to almost every mid- to upper-range date-type restaurant. How he’d done her that service, at least. They briefly touch on whether they should really break up. Then her salad comes. She puts her fork into the salad dressing that she has asked for on the side. He dares her to drink the salad dressing straight. She thinks for a few seconds. Says it would take $500 for her to do that in this restaurant. He says he would do it for $40. Then they begin talking about butter eating contests they have seen or heard about.
Sometimes the languages enter my consciousness, though, the ones I don't speak, as when I say, "Is it free?" meaning "Is it clear?" when I'm driving.
Or when I stare at the word "die" one day, not knowing what it says for the longest time.
My cat reminds me of the times I woke up late, lying on my alarm clock, frantic to realize that I had only been dreaming that I got up and got ready for work. Seeing Andy curled up beside me, I blurted out, "What time is it?" before remembering that cats don't speak or tell time. I did this twice.
What do we fall through in those moments when we forget how the lock on the front door works, forget the name of someone we know, wake up in the dark and can't figure out where the door to the bedroom is or which wall we're facing?
One of my friends loves the feeling of being lost in the week, no idea which day it is. I get panicked then, turned around.
This same friend, though, is scared by my favorite falling in-between: at dusk, the twilight tingle of voices with no words in the head, wondering will you turn down an alley and out of your body.