Conversations With Beautiful Women About Other Men
by Jimmy Chen
We learn that the marketing associate thought he was smarter than everyone else because he listened to intricate yet monotonous twentieth century minimalist music and played it at considerable volume which made the rest of the office either nervous or irritated. We know that she didn't care for the people who worked around her; that she thought of work as a three dimensional paycheck, one she had to step into five mornings out of seven. We know she ordered the ricotta ravioli with sage, and that the man sitting across from her would have his buddies believe that he was on a date with this woman, not just driving her to the airport, as he was, and had, desperately, invited her to dinner along the way; never mind that this was a five star restaurant with a three star Michelin rating. We know that she accepted this dinner invitation whilst on the freeway en route to the airport because she actually was a little hungry and enjoyed the grave attention, however futile, of other men.We know he would drive home after dropping her off, after a failed attempt to land a kiss, and masturbate vigorously to the semblance of her face as rendered in his jealous mind; jealous of "Christian" who lived in Nice, and who she was going to visit, and who would probably copulate with her around seventy times in three weeks. We know the south of France is lovely, the soft light slanted as a silent accent mark. We will find out when he does sometime next week when he checks his bank statement online that the dinner cost two hundred and forty three dollars, for he, in effort to seem carefree about money (the allusion being he had a lot of it), signed the check with the affected mannerism of not looking—and not looking back is exactly how she got out of the car, into the airport, into the terminal, into the gates, into the very plane which would melt around her and a hundred strangers somewhere in a beautiful field, in a town in this country where no painter bothered to paint.
The editor of this journal had really thoughtful things to say about this story, and I find it impossible to write effectively about it without invoking what he said. "The piece reads like an inverse kind of obituary," which I smiled at, as I'm fascinated with cyclical time. I like fiction that incurs its own logic. Of the woman's scripted fate, "a universe that observes a sort of moral or 'karmic' equilibrium" which is "not necessarily connected so didactically to her past actions." On a good day, a little story can get somebody going. I suppose readings like these reconfirm for me why I write: to put your fingers non-fatally inside someone's skull and toss things, like a thought salad.
Jimmy Chen is an administrator at a large institution where he enjoys writing. He is a contributing writer at HTMLGIANT. He also enjoys cooking and eating. You can find him online at jimmychenchen.com