I hate it here," Bella
shouted angrily over the sound of the Mariachi band.
She swiped at the air
like a cat as if to scratch away her disgust. A clawed flash of red fingernails
missed my face by inches.
"Are you talking about
the restaurant, the country, or planet earth?" I asked innocently.
The band was hovering
menacingly close to our restaurant table with the persistence of paparazzi. They
were waiting for a tip. We sat in the shadows of their giant sombrero hats and
played the waiting game. Who would crack first and reach for their wallet?
Tequila was turning the
birthday party for my work colleague Jessica into an evening of drunken madness.
Somehow I had ended up sitting next to the birthday girl's sister, Bella. I
couldn't take my eyes off her. She was amazingly whiny.
"I think you'll like my
sister," Jessica had said earlier in the afternoon as we left the office for
dinner. "She'll leave quite an impact on you, I'm sure."
Images of road kill
flattened on highway come to mind in retrospect.
The lead singer hit a
surprising top note that practically shattered my margarita glass. Bella cringed
and stabbed irritably at the ice cubes in her green beverage with a miniature
pink cocktail umbrella. She had lipstick on her teeth and kept licking her lips
in this frantic way that made me nervous. Someone sighed and disappeared beneath
the tablecloth to fish around for their handbag. I smiled reassuringly at the
guitarist, happy that the music had forced us to press the pause button on our
conversation. Money was exchanged with the smiling guitarist. Bella retrieved
her wallet from a netted blue handbag and handed over a note as well.
"Do you have change for
a two dollar note?" she asked, narrowing her eyes and gripping her money with
I thought that she was
argumentative and difficult. A physical challenge. Or was I being too critical?
She ignored the
Acapulco map menu and asked the waitress if they served Wiener Schnitzel. The
waitress just looked at her, astonished.
"This is a Mexican
"Well, do you have
We were nibbling on
starter selections while we ordered. I was so shocked that I practically choked
on my guacamole.
Bella had a cast on her
Casts always make me
wonder and she read my mind in a second.
"Don't even think about
asking me about the cast," was the first thing that she said to me as she said
Jessica told me later
that she had broken her arm in a kitchen incident.
collapsed on her, poor thing."
I wonder if she was
fighting with it.
Do you think that you
can tell something about someone from their style of their sneezes?
Bella sneezed this
amazing sequence like her life depended on it. It was 100 times louder than the
Mariachi band. That's loud.
"I always sneeze in
three's," she said in a well-rehearsed statement while rubbing her nose with a
"I normally sneeze
twice," I said, just to keep conversation up.
"I always come twice
when I'm having sex with my husband during lunar eclipses," she replied,
Somehow we got into
this argument as we ate dessert. Bryan Adam's "Summer Of 69" came on. She
started singing the song and noticed that I didn't join her. After being asked
why, I admitted I didn't know any of the words. Bella was disgusted.
"I wasn't even born
then," I replied in my own defence. "If it was the ‘Summer of 99’ then perhaps
I’d get into it.”
Bella snorted and said:
"I'll bet you don't even know how to do the macarena."
I blushed and admitted
that I didn't.
She looked me over and
added salt to the wound by saying:
"Your fly is down!"
Have you ever had a
friend who insisted that you were going to get along with someone like a house
on fire only to end up getting burnt in the end? It's funny how we get along
with some people and not with others. Maybe it's a timing thing.
I don't know.