Friday, June 26, 2009

Splash of Cool Water Salad

The evening moonlight shed a grey haze over the hedges which neatly outlined the large brick houses along our evening walk. We meandered with full bellies through the warm summer air, our conversation steady as we moved in and out of the scrutiny of each golden street light. 

A thin old woman stood holding a hose to darkened rosebushes, looking nervously over her shoulder at us as we passed her by. One single light glowed in a corner window of her house. "..a huge house for a single lonely old woman" Christina said as we passed by on our tour. We see her almost daily, fitted in a proper dress wearing makeup and earings and keeping always to the confines of her yard. We said hello and she smiled and looked back to her flowers. 

I was chatting away getting lost in the rhythm of our steps and the circles of my thoughts and Christina appeared to be listening peacefully when suddenly she stopped. A figure moved awkwardly in the shadows along a walk at the bottom of the hill. It was black flowing hair on top of a young female body, bare feet, and the glint of a bottle. "Oh my god, that woman is seriously drunk" Just then the woman stopped and gestured as though having a sudden conversation with a lamppost. In the dark, and given the setting we were in, I suspected some teenager had stumbled out of her parents house and lost her way along the path. We continued on our walk. As we began the descent from the hill of mansions to the sparkling lights of our downtown galaxy, we found ourselves walking behind the drunk woman again. She was not a teenager, but a homeless woman. She appeared to be wearing a beautiful wig, and she had on a 1970's golden bikini top and a pair of black men's boxer shorts. Her feet were blackened on the soles, which she flashed every so often as she picked them up to stumble from one side to the other. 

She hovered dangerously close to traffic and occasionally lifted her arm at the passing cars, but quickly lost herself in drunken apathy. As we passed her by Christina said, "do you have somewhere you can go to get off of the street with that bottle? You are going to end up in jail" The woman looked at Christina shocked, unsure how to react. It was as though she had just been splashed with cold water and she wasn't sure whether she should be angry about it. She quickly decided against anger. 
"am i being too obvious?" she said in a meek voice. 
Christina said "well, you DO have a bottle of vodka in your hand, where are you going?"
"to the river. I was going to go to the river, but they told me the current would suck me under" "do you want to die?" asked Christina. 
"oh, honey" the woman said apologetically "I am already dying. I have ovarian cancer and it has spread to my lymph" 

The woman, who, apart from her swollen belly, was so thin that she resembled a man wearing a bikini began to tell us her stories. She told us about her son who was a professional football player, and about her boyfriend whom she had stolen from, and about her 48th birthday which was less than a month away. She told us about how she felt like 48 sounded really old, and about how she missed her clothes which she had left in treatment, and how she once had 15 years of sobriety, and about how she liked it in the psych ward because they let her play scrabble. 

Christina asked her if she wanted to quit drinking so she could laugh some before she dies. 

"this is nice" she said at one point, barely able to focus her eyes "I don' have female friends, wouldn't it be great to jusss hvvv female friends an wen we see each other we could juss be like, wasssup!! and we wouldn't have to do anything but say hi" At this her face lit up in a huge radiant smile. 

The woman hadn't eaten in five days. She didn't ask us for money or food. She just wanted our friendship. She asked us if she could give us a hug and she kissed us each on the cheek with parched and frothy lips. She had tears in her eyes. "You smell good.. and clean." she said after the hug. We offered to walk her to the hospital. 

"No, I am gonna finish this" she said and held up the transparent bottle. With that she walked off, and we called the police, and followed her from a distance, and waited while she teetered to the ground. When the police drove up, we pointed her out. They nodded a serious nod before driving her way to gather her up for another round of detox. 

The salad: 
dice 3 large cucumbers. Mix with 3/4 container greek yogurt, 5 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp dill. Mix well and serve.  

Christina's vote: "A couple of shots of ouzo and this salad would be complete"

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