Wrong Turn Voyeur—Klaudia Keller

Whether it be I am on

vacation, or sitting in a restaurant or maybe an airport, and

especially hotel lobbies, I have often conjured up and imagined what

lies deeper into the various lives as the people cross in front of my

eyes. I am truly a voyeur, just an observer not an inter-actor, but

I take a birds eye view from afar. This little game all started

simply as a way to keep the kids engaged and focused as we awaited our

entrees or dessert. The kids would pick the tables with children and

choose which kid was the bully and what kid liked horses. The

teenage boy would be the hero of the football team, maybe the wanna

be ballet dancer that the dad would be horrified with. So much fun,

a lifetime of being a voyeur, never knowing, nothing coming to

fruition with these games I have played. , Me, the bird, is

perched in a restaurant at a table for two, and I dream up that they

are a couple from DeCalb Illinois, a town that is famous for being

the home of barbed wire. He (Conrad) works for the local PUD, she

does the bookkeeping for a concrete coring company (CCC) her name is

Corrine, and wouldn’t usually wear coral capris back home but she and

her husband whom she dressed this morning in a rust colored V neck

sweater are in Seattle on vacation. He slouches in the wicker chair

and checks his watch often, and doesn’t look like he is comfortable

with his height, the sweater, Corrine, and the tarot card reader is

too “far out”. Corrine is good with numbers and practically got this

little marriage distress trip for nothing, by using her Discover card

miles she had saved on both the hotel and the rental car. Her

embroidered jacket lends itself to a yen to really wanting to vacation

in Mexico, but he won’t go because “they don’t speak the

language” , Now this begins innocently enough maybe her glasses

tipped me off to her being bookish, and a numbers girl, maybe the

too snug sweater is a dead give away for a guy who would rather hang

in a pair of Carharts and eat out of a lunch pail. I think their next

move is to walk on the ferry, going off to Bainbridge Island with

their overnight bag after lunch in the Market. , The next table has

a cute couple I name Elisse and Dennis, I imagine they are on their

first face to face date, they met online and after emailing and

finding that they each charmed the other, they meet for lunch and the

spark isn’t very bright. He orders a soda with bitters and she a

glass of white wine. She works at a clothing design company, really

an errand girl, but with the title of design assistant. He works for

a company that does library systems all over the world. The company

used to be on top of the heap, but now there is much more

competition, you can see he has wearied over the job and tired of

looking for someone to spend the next 50 or 60 years together. Elisse

is very fashion forward, argyle tights with heavy boots, a multi

stripe knit skirt and unmatched scarf bunched at her neck. She has

chosen the restaurant because of the apple gallete, so that there

will be at least something good that comes out of this meeting.

Dennis is much too conservative for her in my opinion, he is divorced

with no children and you can see the disappointment, from both of

them, it shows from their not making eye contact. , I have a

little over an hour to wait to go to my shrink appointment, and

figuring that the lunch crowd will soon be gone, I may write in my in

my journal, sitting here next to the bar, my shrink likes that I

write what I am feeling, “helps to purge” she says. , I watch

Corrine get up from the table head to the ladies room. When she is

out of sight from her husband, he signs the check and rises from the

table and exits up the stairs and out to Post Alley and all of the

rest of the tourists into the Market. Corrine reappears, orders a

white wine spritzer barely looks at the table where she has had

lunch, nothing strange about “him” being gone from the restaurant and

almost marches over and sits at the Tarot readers table. This seems

out of character for her, a girl from outer Illinois getting a

reading, where is her husband? I see the seriousness she takes in

what the seer is saying, I can see her ask questions and listen

intently to the answers. , What happened to the overnight on

Bainbridge I have tidied up for them. She looks pretty satisfied with

herself, now propped up at the bar like she has done this one hundred

times. I overhear her tell the bartender that she is in Seattle at

the convention center on business with the Beef Coalition from

Kansas. I like that I am right about being from the Midwest but

really curious about where “her husband” has gone. I decide to be a

friendly Seattleite and as I order a second Mimosa, (it has orange

juice in it) I sit next to Corrine and introduce myself. I make it a

point to help out folks downtown that stand there with the map,

looking usually for the market, it erases the unfriendly image that

we are stuck in our selves. I am dying to tell her how I make up

scenarios about people, depending on their sturdy shoes or horn

rimmed glasses. I let her go on about the Beef Commission and all,

how coming to Seattle is the first trip she has taken west, and me

thinking her embroidered jacket was a tip off of traveling to Mexico.

She had been married to the same man for going on 41 years and he

wasn’t a traveler, and had never been out of Kansas. I wanted to ask

who the man was that she was having lunch with, they seemed so

comfortable with each, like the silence between them was something

they were both used to. She sputtered on about life in Kansas, her

husband’s father had been the mayor of the town they were from, some

sort of notoriety, I could see she was feeling her cups, but I let

her blabber on until I just had to ask “who was the guy she had had

lunch with? Corrine looked as if she had been caught in a snare, she

looked at me as if I was asking a too delicate of a question. She

composed herself and answered that he was indeed the head of the Beef

Commission, a Texan whom she would travel with twice a year, meeting

in DC in January and then to the next city in the summer that the

convention was held in.

My oh my, I couldn’t have come up with this sordid story, she having

an affair on her husband, Conrad from Texas, my mind drolled on. She

didn’t have anything to loose, me an ear for her, out of Kansas for

the first time west, she was open and almost too honest with me I

just listened, back to my perch, just observing her plain simple

explanation for it all.

She and Conrad, (Richard) had been meeting like this for 22 years, a

same time next year Beef Commission Convention kind of deal. They

were not to deviate from their individual marriages, they had a

mutually consensual deal, that when they traveled they would have this

“thing”.

All of us, looking for someone nice, somebody you would like to share

the same house with for the next 50 to 60 years, when will we get that

this really just doesn’t work out very well.

 

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About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on November 14, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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