Novini: you never follow the doctor's advice much less anyone else's.
Maghie: i can't have my thumbs in casts! i need to be able to move around on this, the most embarrassing day of my life.
ON THE BUS STATION'S LOUDSPEAKERS IN THE BACKGROUND, CLICK HERE, RIGHT HERE AT THIS LINK.
Novini: she still loves you, i think. this will be beautiful, beautifully awkward.
Maghie: they would look stupid in casts! ow, ow, OW my thumbs hurt! the area between the exposed skin of the nail bed and the nail hurts so much! this is the worst pain of my life!
Novini: no, that's coming. i've lugged your suitcase this far, but i'm afraid i can go no further. this is your journey. can you lug it from here?
Maghie: what did i do to my thumbs? i don't remember cutting them so finely. i'll never cut my nails again, you do them!
Novini: is that a proposal? after all these years...
Maghie: it all started with thumbs.
Novini: yes. when i'm on my death bed, i'll remember how beautiful you looked that day in the pouring rain. your sundress was decidedly unsunny, drenched and showing all your delectable curves. i knew on that day as i gazed at your clumsy attempt at a hitchhiking signal with your thumb that you would be my future ex-wife.
Maghie: my thumb memory concerns your thumb. you used your thumb to flick a quarter over to me so i could call the towing guy. i just thought that was such a cool trick, the coin was flicked and flew through the raindrops so perfectly and landed squarely on my palms without me having to move an inch. i imagined you were some star college quarterback who was used to throwing the game-winning touchdown.
Novini: huh, i wish, i would have landed myself a nice trophy wife and lived comfortably off the settlement. do you regret it, though? us? her? this life? or was it all a mistake?
Maghie: yes, because i wasn't better. but you can't escape, that's for sure, eventually it squirms its way back and reminds you of your failings.
Novini: i hope you're not talking about our daughter.
Maghie: she's a stranger to me. i just don't know what to say.
Novini: say nothing, show yourself by example. you can't apologize or anything, she's too smart for that, she's already won that argument. less debate, more discourse, of the philosophical kind.
Maghie: while other families were playing Candy Land, we had to be the family deconstructing Deconstruction around the folding table. who did we think we were?
Novini: smarter than we really were, the most dangerous kind of people. she inherited your good looks, which is the only thing that's valued in society anymore. i'm sure a nice fellow fell in love with her character.
Maghie: as long as i don't have to see your ugly mug in any of my grandchildren, i'm golden.
Novini: ready or not, here she comes.
Maghie: not. is that her? long green hair in cornrows, dusty shirt, ripped jeans, dirty boots, conch rings, eyes like oceans, and black fingernails, check. the last time i saw her, she had rosy cheeks and a silky graduation robe.
Novini: kiss for good luck?
Maghie: (kisses him.) you always know how to ruin the moment.
Algina: perfect, the bus is late, remind me to thank the driver. this leaves us no time for small talk or catching up, we need to vamoose now. get in the bus, it's leaving right at this moment. you got that suitcase?
Maghie: yeah, sure, who needs thumbs anyway? OWWWW!!!
in a white blur, Maghie saw off the glare of the front window the bus driver's nameplate WELDON. the bus doors closed mightily without concern and trapped the edge of Maghie's skirt. she quietly ripped it off and sat down next to her stranger. the first vista along the route was another blur, an orange blur. Maghie smiled internally cos she recognized it: these are the oranges from the orange groves of the monastery. she felt stable again because she could look at something interesting to pass the time and not have to think about filling the air of the awkward silence. funny how things come naturally when you don't force them, an idea sparks when you weren't even thinking about that idea.
Maghie: you know what i always found funny? little kids who have unusual, long, tricky last names with a hyphen. i saw this all the time when i taught. they would spell their difficult last name correctly, a name which nobody else on the planet not in their family could spell, and yet would have trouble spelling CAT.
Algina kicked her feet up on the padded seat, kicking the bald head of the disgruntled gentleman in front of her.
Algina: what a long strange trip it's gonna be.
TO BE CONTINUED...