River of Hips

A friend of yours who goes to med school on an island you never heard of until he went there is in town for a few days, staying nearby, and the two of you go for drinks down the road at a corporate place where a woman, blond and trim and middle-aged with a model’s finecut features, sits by herself a few stools away. She doesn’t look at her phone, makes small talk with the bar tenders instead, and men go over to make remarks, to flirt, and she looks pleased by it all, tossing her hair a lot, laughing. None of them take either of the seats beside her, though, and she doesn’t invite them. Her drinks are refilled without request and at one point there are three before her. Gifts.

A middle-aged guy with a gray beard and mostly-black hair takes the stool beside you, gets a beer, loses himself in his phone. You’re drunk at this point, and your glasses are off, and your friend in med school is talking about how there was a “fainting couch” in one of his lecture courses this semester, often used.

The woman down the bar starts looking your way.

At you?

You get your glasses on and no, she’s not looking at you. She’s looking (and gesturing) at the older guy beside you, the one who just sat. Everybody at the bar is looking at him too, now, and then back at her. The woman is tipsy. Brazen. She gets up and comes over to the guy, to you, and there’s something liquid about her hips when she walks that might not be deliberate but exists nonetheless as a chapter of its own in the book of Good Things and it reminds you — because you’re drunk — of those martial artists who are really big about the whole “drunken art” component, the swaying postures, languid wrists.

She talks to the man and the man smiles at her, listens, but continues to hold his phone upright beside  his  beer. She touches his shoulder. The touch turns to a sort of massage and then her hand slips down the length of his arm and she takes hold of the wrist that’s attached to the phone and some guy at the other end of the bar goes “whoop whoop” but it’s unclear whether he’s doing this because of the woman or because this is Miami and the Heat, at this point, were still in the playoffs and fumbling around on TVs all around the restaurant.

The woman invites the guy to come sit with her. It’s loud in here and while you can’t catch every word it looks like he’s protesting. Lightly protesting. Then the river of her hips resumes its jostle and the man is persuaded. He goes and sits next to her.

An hour later she’s sitting on the guy’s lap and they’re making out at the bar but it’s like 11 p.m. on a Monday so nobody cares. They’re allowed to go on.

A few mornings later you see her in gymwear at Starbucks. She sees you looking and you put your eyes back in your notebook, demonquick. And now, a month later, you’re going to the gym again and you’ve seen her there three times in a week. Her hair’s a long gold braid, her figure the envy of the room, and she walks around like she owns the place.

Which she kinda does.



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