Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Short Story: Ramona

“Do you shake hands?” asked Rose, leaning over and opening her right hand, but keeping it close to her body for now.

“Yes,” Ramona answered, and they shook like two grown-ups. “We make grilled cheese,” she confided.

“Oh, I like grilled cheese,” said Rose enthusiastically. “Would you like to learn how they say ‘hello’ where I live?”

Ramona laughed. “It’s ‘hello!’” she replied. “Everybody says ‘hello.’”

“But they don’t say ‘hello’ where I live,” Rose explained. “They say ‘happy noon.’”

“They do?” Ramona’s big, round eyes got bigger.

“They do.”

“Happy noon!” said Ramona, and Rose and I both answered, “Happy noon!”

“I’m not sure I should tell her how to say goodbye,” Rose said quietly to me.

“Uh-oh,” I replied, “What is it?”

“Literally, it just means ‘see you later’ but it’s…” Rose lowered her tone some more and came half a step closer. “’Lookim you behine.’”

I smiled. I liked this woman, but I wanted to see the rest of the booths, too. I’d been browsing off and on since Friday and hadn’t yet seen all of them, because I always stopped to talk too long. “How about I tell her that in a couple of years,” I suggested, “when she starts to learn about appropriate and inappropriate places to say things.”

“Good idea,” Rose smiled.

“Lookit my behind!” crowed Ramona, and bounced off toward the Russian Federation booth.

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