Musings over Milkshake


Late night cravings
Bring us here, to the Mirage
A typical American diner
Booths, formica, jukeboxes:
The remnants of the
Good old days.

Small talk prevails
Until the milkshake arrives
And it all spills out
“Shall I text him?
Shall I wait?
I can’t believe he hasn’t text me!”
The wonderings of a girl
Who recently slept with her
On/off, sort of, not really, kind of
American boyfriend.

The conversation moves on
To the subject of marriage,
And age, and children.
“How old are you?
When is your birthday?”
“My birthday is on Bush’s last day.”
I reply.
“Who is Bush?”
I almost have a hernia
In my uncontrollable
Guffaw of laughter.
When it dawns on her, she asks
“What does he do?
Is he still the president?”
“Stop, stop! It hurts!”
I gasp, clutching at my side.

Moving swiftly on,
We talk of our charges
In our work as Au pairs.
She has a crush on the 11-year-old boy
That I watch.
He is the sweetest boy
I have ever met,
But still, I warn her
Of the illegality of it all.
“How old are you when you get pubic hair?”
She wonders. “Bush,
That sounds like pubic hair doesn’t it?”

By now, our conversation
Has taken such a strange turn,
That I feel compelled to grab
A pen and a napkin
To record these amusing musings
Over chocolate milkshake.
Deep in thought, writing,
I mishear her next question:
“If I found some friends,
Would you help me eat them?”
It takes a moment to register
What she really meant.
“Sure” I reply
“I could eat some fries.”

Waiting for the waiter
She stares out the window,
And wonders about the owner
Of a silver ford bearing the question
Her attention shifts again,
While I frantically scribble away.

“Why do you think straws were invented?
Who ever came up with the idea?”
Her chocolate milkshake is running low,
And her loud slurping
Acts as punctuation.
I suggest that maybe
Straws were invented so you could
Get drunk faster.
As the alcohol always sinks
To the bottom of the glass.
She reminisces about her last brush
With fruit cocktails and declares:
“Even thinking about Sex on the Beach
Makes me want to throw up.”

The crazy lines keep coming
And I struggle to keep up!
Bored with my silent scribbling,
She eavesdrops on the conversation
In the booth behind.
Rather too loudly for my liking
She exclaims
“That girl sounds like a small rodent!”
Unsurprisingly, the couple next door
Make a swift exit not long later,
Scared, no doubt,
By the crazy English girl
And her madly scribbling friend.

She leans over the formica
And reads a sentence of
My napkin soliloquy
And she protests wildly
At my reading this out in writing class.
“Hush,” I tell her
“They don’t know who you are.”
“Well I know who I am!”
Laughing, I continue writing.

When asked yet another ridiculous question,
I squint at her quizzically
And she bursts into laughter
“You look like a chimpanzee!
I mean, erm what are they?
A chipmunk! You look like a chipmunk!”

By now the fries are dwindling
And bored with the lack of scintillating conversation
She begins to play with the condiments
On the table.
She comments on the size of the sugar
Compared to the salt.
She decides to create a piece of art
And captures the salt and sugar shakers
On digital film, determined to print it out
and title it: America.

The waiter brings the bill,
She sighs and fidgets,
Declaring me to be the worst company ever
While I immortalise her on thin tissue paper.
I slurp some ice water,
And give into her evil death stare.
Then, finishing quickly,
I fold up the napkin
And sprint after her.

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