Tuesday, January 10, 2006

This would be easier if you could speak English

But no, that’s not all.

“These, these.” The guy in the suit is gently, softly, persistently brushing at my sleeves. I can’t think... he wants my jacket? My ladies mid week tennis league fleece from Royal Berkshire Health and Racquets? Why? It won’t fit him. He wants me to roll up my sleeves? What? I don’t get it. Don’t understand. What? I should ... what? what? what? Ach, no. I don’t know what you mean.

Ohhhh....he wants my jewelry. That’s it. The other one, the small nervous one, says, “rings, rings” and shows me his fingers. Obviously he’s got no effin' rings on HIS fingers, it’s just for me to understand him, what he’s saying.

And I’m like, in my head, “Look on my stupid hands, do you see rings here, you ... idiot!” Because you remember, I took them all off a month ago. But no. I don’t say that out loud. Little miss goody two shoes. Instead I say, ‘Yes yes... no rings, no rings, see, see? See? Look! Look, look, just this, these. These bracelets, but they’re silver. Not gold, no gold. You don’t want them, they’re no good, just silver...nothing.... no good.”

Brush brush brush... “These, this”.. brush, brush, brush, flick, flick...

Ok, I start to take off the bracelets. But I can’t. My hands are trembling so much, I can’t even find the clasps. I fumble and twist them around. Where are the flippin’ clasps to get this silver sh-- offa me? Do I want to piss these guys off and die for a silver bracelet? Get them OFF ME! I am freaking out inside, starting to completely panic. I can’t get them OFF. Cilla, beside me, says in her definitive and angry voice, “I can help you with that” to the two men., and I think, “Cilla, please effin disappear right now, right effin NOW! Now!! I DON’T NEED THIS!!!” And they say, “No, here, inside!’” to her, and usher her through a door -- a door I didn’t notice until just now, though we’ve been standing in front of it for at least a minute. And she’s gone. Gone! Thank God. Nice person, but I’ve never been so happy to see someone disappear in my LIFE! Bye, Cilla. See ya soon. I hope.

So we’re still standing there. In the hall, in front of this door, me and these two men. I’m messing about with these frikkin’ bracelets, and finally I say, “Here, you do it, YOU. If you want them, YOU take them off. I can’t do it. I can’t DO it! YOU! YOU DO IT!” And so these two men try to take these bracelets off, each one has a gun in one hand, and is fumbling with a bracelet clasp with the other. It would have been so much easier if SOMEONE had put down their f---in’ gun. But no. Anyway, the whole time I was just thinking, please just don’t blow my freakin' fingers off while you screw with this jewelry. PLEASE. Please.

So two bracelets come off, they start on the third and then I think they just say, “effin’ hell, we quit, this isn’t worth it.”

Didn’t I try to tell them? Men. So stupid.

So they open this same door again, where we’ve been standing, and Mr. Suit gently moves me through the door, and I look down, and surprise, there’s Cilla sitting there!

I was just.... totally surprised. Here we are again, together. And in a bathroom. And Cilla’s here! Weren’t we just talking outside, a minute ago? No, look, it’s all of us now! Nine of us, here now, in this bathroom. Toni, Karine, Cilla, Joan, Mark, Lawrence, and me, and two other people I don’t know at all.

Everyone is totally quiet. So calm. Just breathing. Quiet. Everyone looks up as I come in, and then looks down again. The door closes, and then is locked from the outside. Here we are.

I tremble and lean against the wall. Close my eyes, cover my face. No need to cry. Better stay cool. Everyone else is. Like this happens every day. Lawrence, standing beside me, gives me a huge embrace, and asks if I’m ok. I don’t answer. A human body, a hug, feels so nice sometimes. You cannot believe. Someone else apologizes, on behalf of all of all of South Africa. “Ach, man, you’re just new here, you shouldn’t have to have this happen...”


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