She was wearing makeup today. Eyeliner. It was slightly smudged from the pulsing heat of the sun. I realize hair is not necessary for beauty. She gives me the familiar smile I wait for every day.
There it is. He also gives me a genuine smile, with his beard reminding me of a goat, thriving on his chin. The hair spreads slightly when the corners of his lips curve up towards the sky. They convince me to stop. They convince me to stop every day. Their smiles are incredibly persuasive sales people.
Today I have small navy blue and white followers. They chatter to me in a, mostly nonsensical, English and Thai combination making me laugh hard, but not really making me understand.
“I’m going to get a tea.” I tell them slowly. We are almost completely past the colorful coffee van. I make a U-turn.
“Ok” the girls say in unison. They aren’t sure how to communicate that they will come with me so they simply continue following. They have become my ducklings.
“Could I get a black tea with lemon?” I say slowly and hesitantly, unsure whether she will understand. My small collection of Thai phrases seemed to get lost in between the thoughts and stresses about leaving soon. She translated to her husband confidently and he began the process of throwing the liquid between two aluminum cups. After he has poured his concoction into the final plastic cup, she wrapped a triangular napkin neatly around the body and handed it to me.
“Me too.” I hear from my left side. It is a hesitant, yet proud voice. The young girl is practicing her English. “Yes, of course.” The woman with the smudged eyeliner responds in English. She continues “copy. They copy their teacher.” This young girl’s name means Cucumber in English and so that is what I think every time I see her bright eyes. She dances in class. She calls me her Taylor swift.
The man picks up his aluminum cans and begins his defiance of gravity once more. She wraps an identical triangular napkin neatly around the body and Cucumber gives her 25 baht.
“Me too” I hear another voice from the same direction. I always mispronounce this girl’s name but she just giggles. Ang has a face that shows every emotion she is feeling every moment. She can never hide.
The man with the beard of a goat smiles patiently and continues without missing a beat. The napkin is wrapped. 25 baht.
“Me too.” says the final girl at almost a whisper. The woman with eyeliner repeats, “copy, copy, copy.” The quiet girl smiles. I see myself in her shy face. She is smart but lacks confidence. She smiles but does not express herself in words.
I tell them I need to go. But they say “Wait! Do you want to come see movie with us on Friday?” They had been planning the question their entire duckling lives. I hesitate. “What is it called?”
They say a name that is not Thai. The woman makes a sound in recognition. She starts contorting her face and acts as though she is a zombie. She twists her arm to make it seem as though she has no bones and moves in a jerky, sporadic way. She is a very impressive actress. Her beautiful face was made terrifying.
“Maybe” I say not wanting to decline but hesitant to commit. They take it with so much excitement I wonder if I accidentally said yes. They turn and giggle as they walk away. I look at the woman with Eyeliner. She smiles a huge smile, almost persuading me to buy another drink. She now knows thirsty Taylor as well as Kru Taylor and she approves.
She will be having her baby in a month. I think they will make extraordinary parents. I wish I could meet their infant.
I have known them for a month. I will miss them terribly.