The city was rammed with rugby fans. Pubs and restaurants overflowed with red jerseys. Gorillas swung on every door. My daughter and I swirled through the throng, looking for a place to breathe. We ate our food at Café Caribe; the only place that had a free table.
Afterwards we hustled between miniskirt girls dressed up like hookers. They carried trays in one hand and tugged their skirts down with the other. The queue to pay was gridlocked with microwave reheat. I felt the dragon breath of chip fryers every time the kitchen door opened.
“I’d like to pay.” I waved my card.
“Nathalie, this isn’t time to talk.” The woman behind the till bellowed across the café. Lowering the volume she addressed me. “Where were you sitting?” Her smile had been cut in with a corkscrew.
I looked at the tables arranged like chrome vomit. Chairs back to back; diners crammed in together. I can see a miniskirt helper wiping our table without bending.
“Over there where the…”
“Describe someone.” Her tone whips like the kitchen door.
I stare at her. I’m having flash backs to creative writing classes; authors in tears on the floor; tutors electrocuting adverbs from manuscripts by negative reinforcement.
The woman looks at me as if I’m a moron. She has hair, textured like dried flowers; blacker than the chip I pushed to the side of my plate.
Neither of us spoke. The kitchen door gaped. She took the opportunity to shout, “Tell Natalie that if she doesn’t get here arse out here she can…” The kitchen door closed. She crammed her lips into the shape of a smile. “Just describe someone,” she repeated.
So that’s what I’m doing.