My brother had a guest over for dinner that was a teacher. My brother likes to have elaborate dinners. During the appetizers, my brother spoke of the weather, at length. My brother is a very good lawyer, but not a good conversationalist. He would argue this point. The teacher didn’t say much about the weather. He just nodded and on occasion said, “I see.”
I watched the teacher, and his dark eyes would watch my brother and randomly watch the rest of us. He ate slowly and would turn his penetrating gaze on me whenever I was observing him. He was calm and the look was always one of expectancy. He was waiting. I couldn’t imagine what he expected me to do. He had a well kept beard and longish brown hair. I prefer the short military cut, but this gave him the look of a thinker. It was summer, and we were all dressed for the season and lounged casually on the deck. I, of course, wore a lovely summer dress from Vera Wang that floated on the slightest breeze and was the colors of the ocean. I stood against the railing to show it off. I wore some Rene Caovilla pearl sandals and accessorized with some dangles from Tiffany’s and a stunning necklace from Jason Wu. My brother was attired in his typical Italian linen slacks and matching shirt and his leather Dolce and Gabbana sandals. Our friends were attired similarly and I was experiencing some shoe lust for a new pair of Dior thong sandals Gracie was wearing. The teacher wore khaki shorts, a T-shirt from Target with a picture of a bunch of muppets that said “Keeping it real since the 70s” and some knock-off Birkenstocks. And, good grief, were his feet dirty! Poor bugger! Teachers really don’t get paid enough. I scooped some artichoke-crab dip onto a cracker and pondered it, not willing to eat it with the image of those dirty feet in my head. My brother liked novelties, and especially liked to have them over for dinner. This one hadn’t said much and wasn’t even good as eye candy. I looked at him again, waiting to see what had motivated my brother to invite this one. And wondered again what he was waiting for.
A woman with beautiful long, blond hair came onto the deck. I was so stunned by her glowing locks that I didn’t even notice what she was wearing. She went to the teacher, knelt, and removed his sandals. She was weeping. She was sobbing so much, that water dripped in a stream from her chin and she washed the teacher’s feet in her river of tears. It was utterly astonishing! She didn’t make a single sound, but the tears poured down her cheeks like her eyes were faucets. How could a human being actually do that? That was more than enough for me, and I turned to leave but movement from the woman caught my eye and I turned back to look. She was using her beautiful tresses to dry his feet! Ick to infinity! I couldn’t stop watching. My brother said something and the teacher spoke. I didn’t hear any of it. What could prompt a woman to use her hair on such disgusting feet? What could make her cry like that? I watched her back as she walked away. She walked calmly, no longer crying, tall and lithe and beautiful. I looked back at the teacher. He looked at me. He was still waiting! He hadn’t been waiting for her, but he wasn’t surprised to see her either.
I looked at the empty stairs where the woman had been moments before, her hair a filthy tangled mess. I was completely confounded. How could anyone do that? Why would anyone do that? She was weeping before but not after. Something had upset her and washing his feet had comforted her. Good grief, his feet certainly had needed washing. So she had done him a favor. Why had that stopped her sobs? It must have made her feel better. So the logic here is that if you do something for someone else, you feel better. Okay, I can see the truth there. But, no, that’s not what happened here. Those tears don’t come from a bad day. Those kind of tears come from terrible heartbreak. Aha! They had been lovers . . . no, she would not have left him in the end. Maybe she had never done anything good in her life (yes, that could make a woman weep like that), and washing his feet had healed her. Yes, good so far. Why had it healed her?
I became aware that everyone was talking at once, but the teacher said nothing and smiled at me. He stood and said to my brother, “Please excuse me. I have somewhere to be.” He nodded to me as he left by the same stairs as had the woman.
My brother stood with his mouth hanging open. “I thought he would make an amusing middle class guest. I did not expect weirdness and rudeness. Good riddance.”
Why had it healed her? I started to drift into the house with everyone else, but then changed direction and walked toward the stairs and then started to run. I tripped on my shoes and fell. I stripped off my sandals and threw them on the deck behind me and ran full out for those stairs. What was he waiting for?
Daily Prompt – Guest