Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein
Woman with a brilliant mind

Friday, November 16, 2012

Does this swimsuit show my bitterness?

The dark, heated water of the hot tub had steam clouds lifting off its surface, with the smell of the chemicals filling my nose. The hyper beat of the exercise class going on up stairs was quiet enough to ignore it, so mostly what we could hear was droplets of condensation from the ceiling plopping into the bath. Gertrude had both of her arms held out across the tiled edge. When I felt overheated I sat myself on a higher step so most of me was out of the water.

She said, "Well, I'm about soft-boiled and ready to get out of the water."

She moves so slow. I had to stand there and firmly hold her hand to give her some extra balance.

Neither of us tried to look at ourselves in the full-length mirrors on the walls of the dressing room and we make small talk, trying to find our socks and shoes.

In the car on the way to her house she listens to the "forties" channel on satellite radio, and sings along to songs I've never even heard before. She acts young, like a bizarre Shirley Temple.

I am bored by this stretch of street that I travel sometimes two or three times a day. There's nothing interesting. But Gertrude points out the royal blue velvet of the sky and the cigar-shaped gray cloud, lit up by the moon.

We are each seeing the world as we are.

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