When Paul called to invite me over, to emphasize they planned nothing special he listed the few things they intended to make. In that moment I thought, "You need some vegetables" but I didn't say anything.
On the drive over I swung by a Chinese restaurant in my old neighborhood along the way for vegetable stir fry, but they were closed. How odd. Come on. It's Christmas! Further along I noticed another Chinese restaurant with "open" sign lit, so I made a sharp turn parked the truck and went in. I took the woman's first suggestion. She said, "give us 10 minutes." I waited alone as she answered the phone, ringing off hook, actually, they were busy with deliveries. As you know, Christmas is big for Chinese restaurants.
About five minutes in a very tall and thin young black man, I'd guess 25 years-of-age or so, came into the restaurant to pick up an order he had called in. On sight, he is an unusual person. About six feet seven inches, I'm guessing, dressed as Paris fashion model. He wore a toque wrapped of different scarves in different patterns, and more scarves around his neck in more patterns, a loose knitted plain brown coat that went down to his knees and very long loose voluminous slacks disguising his Big Bird legs, with tall leather boots. But most unusual of all, tucked underneath his neck scarves he wore an Egyptian style collar of gold with hundreds of small blue lapis lazuli gems and rubies, so, gold dark blue and dark red in uninhibited glittering magnificence, but partially concealed, just so.
You don't see that everyday. Now, how can I let that go?
He was quiet, self-contained. His intention was come in, pick up his order and leave. He had his own thing going on.
"I really like your Egyptian collar,"
Suddenly he exploded with animation and vocalizations. He threw one arm upward and the other arm stretched downward to opposite angles. He twirled a circle, tossed his head back and splayed his hand in an arc as demonstrating his fabulous Egyptian necklace while saying, "OMG, I know, right? I love this thing. You have a good eye. Still modeling, still moving in place as if for a photoshoot, presenting various angles, "I bought this for Halloween and then realized ... hey... I can wear this beyond ... Halloween."
"Smart choice. It looks great on you."
"Aaaaaaaaaay. Thank you. I love it. Still modeling. He went full blown flame on me right there. Gayer than a mantel filled with elves on a shelf, with his height and his spindly long arms, he could not be held back, could not be contained, he is continuous motion, continuous speech. All that was needed is someone to push his "on" button and that's done with a simple complement.
"You found a good one. That's actually the best that I've seen." No idle lie. It really is the best that I've seen.
"Aaaaaaaaaaay, thank you very much. You sound like you appreciate Egyptian art."
"Yes. Actually, I'm learning to read hieroglyphs."
"Aaaaaaaaaay that's outrageous. What an insane language. (still turning, still moving, shifting his poses continuously like liquid, having his fabrics shift forms) His interest is not surface either. He knows what he is appreciating sufficiently to wear. "Since all those, you know, little pictures, all mean several things." He crossed his ams over his chest and bent his wrist inward so his fingertips touched his jeweled Egyptian collar. He posed, with a wry smirk pursing his lips so that his eyes and his lips triangulated on my face.
"Yes. It's a very strange language. Their phrases are weird."
*ding* His order is up and he's gone through the door, "Have a merry Christmas!"