Stefan Lombard is a magazine editor, photographer, and freelance writer. He
lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon, and together they have no pets. See more at www.slombard.com.
We’re walking, she and I. We’re just walking, on our way home from Freddy’s. We’re earth conscious and crap, so we bring our own bag–it’s canvas–and that’s what I’m carrying. It’s got the red meat and the canned goods in it. The milk and the bleach and her new extra-special strength anti-perspirant for the one really sweaty pit. She’s got the flat of toilet paper, a 24-pack. Light but bulky.
And we’re just walking, on our way home. “Eddy,” she says. She is half a step behind me, because she is always half a step behind me. It’s an issue. “Eddy, look.”
I turn as I walk and it’s almost painful how awkward she is as she tries to balance this giant pack of t.p. on her head. It’s bigger than a ten-gallon hat, this thing, and of course there’s the slick plastic
wrapping on her shiny hair. Also, she’s just not graceful, my girl. But she tries.
Arms up, right pit dark, hands trembling, final adjustments, head just so, 24-pack of toilet paper, just so. And then, fingertips mere millimeters from the package as it rocks and slides atop her head,
Wow. The 24-pack of toilet paper falls from its place, and mercifully, the display is over. “Supermodel, you are not,” I say. We’re walking.
“I hate you,” she says.
“Are you serious?”
“Why you gotta be so mean?”
“Mean?” I say. “Mean to you?”
“Yeah mean to me. Why?”
“I’m not mean to you, baby.”
“Yes you are,” she says. “That was mean.”
“Are you a supermodel?” I ask her.
“Well then, what’s the problem? You are in fact not a supermodel.”
“You think I’m ugly,” she says.
Good Christ. We’re walking, and I shift the bag full of red meat and heavy stuff from one hand to the other. “Is that what you heard me say?”
“No, but why’d you say it that way.”
“What way? You called my attention to something you couldn’t really do, and that’s the second thing that popped into my head, so I said it.”
“What’s the first thing?”
“Traditional Moroccan woman with a woven basket on her head, you are not.”
“Oh,” she says, and catches up.