It was a prohibited lunch. I had just changed my last US$105 for CLP$55,000, had no job nor income and was pathetic as I walked in to my most comforting spot in Santiago, Navetierra. Beans, rice, lentils or spaghetti should have been on my menu, and it should have happened at home.
Paulina was elusive to me, and probably the most elegant and beautiful waitress of them all, and she was attending multiple clients in the cramped space. The man paying his bill had holes in his red sweater similar to mine. She was sad, or maybe this is just how she looks when she works. But I think she was sad the last time I saw her, when I tried to serve her a drink at a party, for a change. I wanted to be happy with her.
It had been two years, one attempt to go out with her, multiple stupid, stuttering exchanges and countless lunches of me ruminating on her specific beauty, expressive eyes, deep black hair, toned arms, shapely back and soft, ingratiating voice. When she smiled it seemed genuine. I knew that she was an actress that had minor parts on a television mini-series, didn’t read a lot of newspapers, had a boyfriend and was from Valdivia. Now I am leaving.
We would be together at a party, which I imagine in my mind, and she would receive my drink and include me in her conversation. I would stand beside her, brushing her naked, warm arm with mine, and she would smile broadly at me, and we would be mutually surprised at our unspoken happiness. I would continue to stand tall and proud close next to her, charming, and she would continue to be shining, brilliant and the object of my desire.