The sunlight bothered Zansky. It bothered him because it made him squint, no matter how dark or wrap-around the sunglasses. The woman sitting across from him at that blindingly white table is pretty, her name is Lasie, pronounced Lacey, her parents either couldn’t spell or were trying to be different, and Zansky met her one day at work when he went into the accounting department, which he rarely did, and she was new, she could care less about the wider world, and all of the men in the surrounding offices stopped by to say hi and make jabs at getting her out for a drink. Zansky ended up having a rather wonderful 15 minute conversation with her at that time, in which they explored zodiac signs, salsa dancing, and fig newtons. They now met regularly for lunch, usually went to the same place–the only food joint within walking distance that didn’t clog your colon if you ate there more than two times a week. They were the talk of the 10th floor of Bingham & Merle. Insinuating remarks at the water cooler. Snide gossip snippets walked into. You know how offices are. People get bored. We talk down each other out of earshot until everyone we know is reduced to cheesecake.
Zanksy liked talking to Lasie. That’s really all that mattered to him. He knew better than to believe in other people’s envy. He had given up on rustling women into bed. It’s good for maybe a half a night of something that makes you feel bad about it later. The only sex worth having is when there’s some love behind it. Enough at least for more than 2 nights. Enough for everything, for forever, for nothing at all but knowledge of self. Interchange of past lives. Molding bowls of futurity.
When Lasie was out of high school, she had traveled the world with a knapsack of 3 days worth of clothes. One set of clothes was for dancing. One drunken night she was in Morocco, smoking opium with five men who were cousins, none of whom could speak English, and yet she claims that she learned from them that their forefathers were Assassins, and they taught her the recipe for making a mean falafel. She doesn’t know how this information was transmitted. She laughs as she talks about her past, everything behind her. No regrets, no shame, everything leading up to her point of now. She knows what it is to be alone.
Zansky tells her a story of when he was a child and he tortured a potato bug by pulling out its limbs one by one. He still feels that he hasn’t fully payed out his karmic dues for that. He wakes up in cold sweats sometimes. Lasie is laughing, and Zansky tries to keep her laughing for the rest of the half hour. Her laughter is a stream of cascading water catching the light through the trees. She smokes cigarrettes after eating. She rides bikes that don’t move anywhere in a glass room with sweating people in spandex.