They were what I assumed to be the female equivalent of cowboy boots: tan suede, ankle high, and fringed to within an inch of their life, as if she’d said “Tassle ‘em!” to the cobbler, whilst holding him at gunpoint.
She was, inevitably enough, from Texas, not the oil and gas and hick and steer and desert and cactus part, but Austin, the hip, liberal part, where the swagger was feminine and the shotguns sheathed. It was less sunny here too, apparently: Monica, or Danielle, I didn’t pay enough attention, had the complexion of an English rose, planted as a bet, but yet had taken root; hair a Golden Gate red, hazel eyes as perfect as quails eggs; cadmium red lips framing a perfect advert for American dentistry, or the crafting of miniature tombstones.
Yesterday had been Uppsala, and the day before Stockholm, and tomorrow would be Prague, before returning to Rome, where she was working at the American Institute, “just a summer job, you know?”, before school would intervene, and though she didn’t specify, I imagined it to be a sub-par Ivy League college, the elite in front of her, and almost within a grasp, but not hers, not that she seemed to mind.
The smooth, echoing rumble under our feet said the tram was coming. She slid off the bench in the shelter, planted her feet firmly down with a six inch gap between them, before shutting her eyes. “You only get this with a Berlin tram. Like you feel history rattling through you.” The smile suggested she knew what she was doing, a pretence at being playful and profound.
The doors hissed open. She fluttered the fingers on her left hand in a low wave before she turned away from me and moved down the carriage, leaving Hackescher Markt behind.
Labels: fiction berlin texas short story