“The waitress arrived with their drinks and Paul ordered for them. He seemed pretty knowledgeable so Colleen sipped her coconut milk. It was very sweet despite its suspicious dirty dishwater color. She pulled out her chopsticks and studied them. They were attached at one end. How was she supposed to get food between them if they were attached?
“Here, you hold them like this.” Paul pulled his out of their paper wrapper and broke them apart. Colleen studied the way he held them and tried to copy it. “Let me show you.” He reached across the table and formed her hands around the sticks. “See, this bottom one stays still. You use the top one to pinch the bite of food you want.” He closed his hands around hers to demonstrate.
“Oh, I see.” She wiggled the sticks. “I hope I can manage to make them work with food.”
This past summer I went to Disney World to meet up with a friend and her daughter. One of the places her daughter had gotten reservations for us was Teppan Edo. It’s a one of those places where they cook the food in front of you and you sit with strangers. There were three of us, a family of three with a small child, and an older couple. The older couple looked at the chopsticks with fear, but I lived in Korea for two years and have taught kindergarten for five so I was up to the task of teaching these people to eat with chopsticks. It was a valiant effort, but they gave up about half way through the meal. I—being unconscionably stubborn—ate the entire meal with chopstick clutched in my out-of-practice fingers. Ow, ow, ow.
‘“Cold.” Colleen chuckled as she walked into the kitchen for a glass to put the flowers in. Gee, the way her life was shaping up, she might have it invest in a vase. “You Californians just don’t understand cold.”
“It can get pretty chilly. I lived in the desert when I was growing up.” Paul leaned on the doorway, watching her move around the small room. “Some days it would be hundred degrees at noon and drop to forty at night.”
“Heck of a drop, but still not cold.” Colleen half-filled a glass with water and arranged the flowers in it. “Cold is when it’s been below zero for a month, the wind chill is thirty below, and it’s only November.” She carried the flowers out to the table. “But I’ll take your advice and get a sweater.”‘
I grew up and once again live in Ohio where we are experiencing a real winter. I know cold. However, I spent 4 years living in Abu Dhabi where cold was a nighttime low of 50 degrees. So I also understand “cold.” The struggle is real. My family used to laugh at me when I came home in July and August and wore sweatshirts because I was cold.
Part one of Addicted To Love is on sale now on Amazon.
Paul Luis pulled open the inside foyer door and held it for Jack. “Man, look at the size of this place. It’s huge.”
Inside the foyer there were piles of books. Through the inside doors were two long tables stacked with more books. To the right were book shelves that went on to the café against the far wall. To the right, an information desk and behind it more shelves.
“There’s a coffee shop in here,” Paul said.
“Yeah, we have to check that, too.” Jack headed for the information, weaving around long blond oak tables piled with more books, so Paul followed. “Hello, we’re here from the fire department and we need to inspect the premises.”
The heavyset blond woman behind the desk stared at him for a moment before she blinked. “Let me get a manager for you.” She leaned over a paper under the glass counter top and picked up the phone. “Colleen, please call two, two, two. Colleen, two, two, two,” she said over the PA system. Then she stared at the phone intently for a minute before jabbing a button. “Colleen, there’s some firemen here.… They need to inspect the premises.… Okay.”
I worked for 10 years at Borders Books & Music. I loved it there. Had the opportunity to go overseas to teach English not come up, I would have been there until the day the doors closed. Actually I was at my old store a couple of days before the store closed because one of my life’s goals had been to have a picture of myself at the information desk holding my book and I just barely got it, but it’s the photo on my FB page. I loved working at Borders. In fact, we just had a reunion this summer, 6 years after the store closed. Not that this books store is exactly that bookstore. <cough> Not entirely.