Down to Earth

First orbit:
“Yeah but I sort of already own Kill Bill on disk,” says Dee during lunch and from across the table I’m sitting with the small of my back against the red leather upholstery of the sofa, just watching the conversation in silence, not really participating nor paying much attention.
“But do you have it on Blue Ray or like, regular?,” asks the other guy, Dee’s friend, the lawyer, very casually.
“Regular,” Dee nods then picks up the last fried rice cake from the bowl at the center of the table and pours some ketchup on it. I remain silent, not really bored but obviously more interested in chewing on a fingernail until it stings then bleeds.
“And what kinds of movies do you like?,” the lawyer turns to me and asks but I’m too far away, zoned out, so it takes me about ten seconds to register the question and react.
“I don’t know,” I finally look up from a bleeding cuticle. “Movies in general, I guess.”
“No, really,” Dee explains, scholarly. “He’s like, really into movies and stuff.”
“You’re such a space cadet sometimes,” the lawyer tells me accusingly, “You know that?”

Second orbit:
“You’re not a teenager anymore, you know that?” asks this girl I work with as I’m watching her eat in the cramped office pantry while I sip from a cup of coffee. “Yet you insist on living like one.”
“Because I’m playing hooky from a very dull conference call right now?”
“Not that,” she says, emphasizing all the right words. “It’s just that I just can’t believe you actually think you can keep up with this lifestyle of yours for so much longer.”
“Like… which lifestyle?,” I ask, not understanding the question.
“Like living by yourself, not letting people in, not having anyone to care for,” she says with such gusto you’d swear she’s savoring every word. “That kind of stuff.”
“I don’t know,” I look up from my coffee and stare into empty space for a couple of seconds before continuing. “Maybe it’s just that I haven’t really found anyone to let in yet.”
“And have you been looking for that someone lately?,” she tilts her head to the side with a wry, condescending smile, and then I know I’m beaten.
“I guess I might have been playing hooky from lots of things lately…” I give her a shrug before finally leaving the room, maybe as a sign of things to come.

Third orbit:
“I think Capricorn is an earth sign or something,” she says just before the show starts. “Means you’re supposed to be very pragmatic and everything has got to be either black or white with you, right or wrong, no gray areas in-between.”
“And what sign are you?,” I ask her in return.
“Scorpio,” she says.
“That’s an earth sign too, right?”
“I’m not sure, I don’t think so…”
“Well, I don’t think scorpions are like, supposed to fly like those big mean cockroaches and stuff,” I tell her with a half-smile. “That would be pretty goddamn scary…”
“No, that’s cool, I don’t think scorpions fly, either,” she says and returns the smile but understanding that smile is like divining the future—
—and I can’t—
—so I don’t—
Then the lights go out and the curtains go up, putting the conversation to a halt and leaving me slightly unsure if I have just entered one of those gray areas I’m supposed not to like, because yes, they do suck big time and I’d so rather be treading on surer ground than standing on these still waters.

Final orbit:
“You’re standing on Rio,” says Dee whom coincidently enough has just arrived from Rio. We are both standing in my living room, unrolling the Patrick Nagel print I bought him as a gift on eBay and had just arrived in the mail a few days ago. It’s Sunday evening and we still have some time to kill before picking up Kay’s wife for dinner.
“Actually, I think I’m standing on Texas,” I tell him with my mouth full, chewing from a Toblerone bar as I pin down the remaining loose corner of the poster sheet to the carpet with a plastic water bottle.
“I thought it was called Rio,” he says. “Because of the Duran Duran album, you know?”
“Yep,” I take another bite from the chocolate. “But it’s called Texas anyway.”
He nods, then takes a photograph of the print with his iPhone to post on Facebook.
“You’re not going to the restaurant wearing those, are you?,” he asks me accusingly once he notices the edge of my foot was caught in the picture and I’m wearing cheap rubber flip-flops. “You’re such a space cadet sometimes…”