Roe selected three things from her purse and placed them one-by-one on the white linen. She looked to Macy for the next step.
In her lap and leaning against the table — so only Macy could see it — was a spiral-bound journal in which she recorded the articles as she called each one out. “Two pairs of chopsticks. Pocket-size Kleenex. Palm Pilot. What else you got?”
While Roe gathered more from her bag, Macy scrawled on the bottom of the page: thin, early 30s? pastel car coat, pockets full. I see photos.
It was before hours at the Italian restaurant where they had window seats, half-curtains protecting Roe’s privacy from passers-by. The manager approached to offer drinks, but Macy waved him off.
Roe lay down the next collection. Talking without commas, Macy signaled a quicker pace. “Tide stain remover sunglasses two pens clear change purse with bills coins credit card and driver’s license next?”
The cycle continued: Roe emptying her tote; Macy naming and noting the articles and her other observations.
“Box of bandages, three and a half-inch floppy disk, pen number three, emery board, moist towelette.”
Soft hands. Tidy nails. Floppy label: “make-over” !!!
“Another box bandages, floss, comb, Obama button, tape measure, pen and … sketchbook or souvenir?” Macy pointed to a small pad with the Golden Gate bridge on the cover.
”It is for notes. And, I suppose, it is also a souvenir.”
Overenunciates. No inflect.
Macy stayed straight-faced when announcing the next batch. “Head of garlic, another box of bandages, lip balm, pill container, lipstick, rubber band, clips, change, safety pin.”
Roe let out a deep breath, thinking she was finished. “Every last bit,” prompted Macy, noticing something of substance was in the light-weight, unstructured tote. Roe tilted the bag so what was left would all run to the corner. With a grimace she scooped out the dregs.
“Loose bandages coins clips pins rubber band peanuts. What’s with all the Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages?” Macy smiled.
Flicking fuzz out from under a fingernail and reaching for the moist towelette, Roe responded. “Look.” Their eyes met for the first time. “You said ‘see the contents.’ What I signed did not indicate explanations would be required.” With that, Roe returned her belongings to her bag.
“Yes. You’re correct.” Macy handed Roe a small manila envelope from a box on the windowsill. “Thank you for your time.” Roe nodded and left the restaurant.
Felt tip pen still in hand, Macy brushed a piece of garlic skin off the table and set the open notebook down flat. At the top of the page she wrote Roe W. and, at the bottom she added: Clear ivory skin. Maybe 20s. Hiding something. and then turned to the next blank page.