Friday, December 14, 2012

20121214: ink, practice, weather, university, caterpillar, waiter

A Bleeding Sestina in Blue

I sit in a cafe chair doodling on a paper napkin in blue ink. It is warm, and it is sunny, and I could use some practice being well-adjusted and happy about life, about good weather. I'm at the French bistro near the university, feeling like the notoriously hungry, hungry caterpillar, impatiently waiting for the cafe waiter.

Here he comes, the much awaited waiter. His right forearm is tattooed in simple bands of graphic ink, black on yellow-white skin like a monarch caterpillar; it's the meticulous work of hands steadied from years of practice. He must be a student at the university, living the experience like a storm to weather.

I order a sandwich and an iced drink to suit the weather. He makes a note and heads back, passing another waiter who is chatting up some girls on their way from university.

I address a new napkin with a long drag of ink and short strokes, unhesitant, even without practice. And there, born on paper, is a blue striped caterpillar.

My drink is set ceremoniously atop my caterpillar, clipped in two by the glass sweating in the weather. He smoothly sets down my order with the ease of practice.

He asks if everything is to my liking, befitting of a waiter, but he doesn't notice the beads of condensation puddling, spreading ink.

He hesitantly asks if I'm a student at the nearby university.

"I'm flattered, but it's been years since I've graduated university." In his eyes I'm no butterfly, but like him, just another grubby caterpillar, wavering, vulnerable, and impermanent like wet ink.

He awkwardly lingers making small talk about the weather.
He's just filling in for a friend, the real waiter.
He's in a band, and right now he's missing practice.

If he is flirting he's unskilled, and if I am I'm out of practice.

"I came to meet a friend who works at the university."

He's sick right now but he'll be back soon, his friend the waiter. Then I should come see him perform.

He squirms like a caterpillar.

My, what uncharacteristically hot weather?
My butterfly larva is gone now, just a bleeding blot of ink.

I take his arm, with which at practice he strums, the arm like a striped caterpillar, and at the bistro near the university, while I enjoy the mighty fine weather, I scribble my number between the lines on the waiter with my pen in bleeding blue ink.

To the list of other pieces inspired by random words.

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