Lindy & Grundy
Fortunato Salazar

 

imagesSophie says: Tell me about yourself. And Hailey’s heart sinks, not only because of the question but because Sophie asks it in such a loud voice, and when Hailey asks Sophie if she’d like to go inside, Sophie says, Why don’t we sit out here? It’s such a nice day. But then her heart lifts up again because she likes challenges, she welcomes challenges, and she recognizes that Sophie is challenging her; that she wouldn’t be challenging her if she didn’t recognize something in her worth challenging.

*

Sophie, well, she’d been through the STAR program at USC, oddly enough. One day she would show Hailey her notebooks. She would tell her how she got all excited when she caught a glimpse of subscripts in an article her father was reading. She would have to explain to Hailey about subscripts.

*

Hailey, six months in at CAA, before that she’d interned at CBS Films, and she’d actually been doing two internships at once: talk about challenges. She interned for a composer, scutwork as you might expect, organizing and uploading, but she got a chance to do some playing, too, and she’d figured out some interesting combinations that no one had ever discovered before with plastic; she had some ideas about timbre that she wanted to explore.

*

Just before she met Hailey, Sophie’s friends arranged a meet, a blind date. All that Sophie knew about the woman was that she’d been involved with Kon-Tiki somehow, she’d done major work on Kon-Tiki. Sophie got there early and sat at a table watching people walk by. A tall woman with blond curly hair in an incredibly flattering yellow halter top walked by. If only the women her friends set her up with looked like that woman.

*

Hailey had met some really fun women, for example the guitarist who played with Johnny Carson, that is, the band named Johnny Carson. Hailey stuck around and drank beers with the band after their gigs. The guitarist did a really great imitation of old men applauding.

*

Are you awake, Hailey? I want to tell you what it was like the day you interviewed for me. I’ve never told you this. You made me so unsure of myself. Do you remember how I asked you about where you grew up, about your childhood? I never ask a question like that when I interview! I didn’t want it to end, I wanted you to keep on talking. I wanted you to leave and immediately I would text you and offer you the job. Even while you were talking I was fantasizing about offering you the job, and at the same time I was sure that you wouldn’t take the job because I was making such a bad impression as an interviewer.

*

The woman who had been with Sophie before Hailey turned out to be a woman Hailey knew, who had gone to school with Hailey. Hailey had a crush on her at school, but later she decided it was a crush on the woman’s perfect pitch. If Hailey could be granted just one impossible wish, it would be to know at the time what was a crush on something else and what was a real crush.

*

Then the woman in the yellow halter top turned out to be the blind date. That was so amazing, such an amazing feeling that almost was like being in a dream, so dizzying, when the woman came back up the street and went right up to Sophie at her table. Came right up and introduced herself like Sophie had never met her before, when in fact she was already a part of Sophie’s life: she was the woman who Sophie wished the women her friends set her up with was like.

*

Hailey, here’s something else I never told you. People were walking past on the sidewalk and they were smiling at us. You couldn’t see them, of course, because you weren’t facing the sidewalk, and anyway you were doing most of the talking, and I just wanted to hear you talk and talk and talk. And meanwhile people were walking past with their little dogs and their trays of breakfast from the food truck and they were looking at us and smiling, smiling and beaming.

*

In the middle of the interview the composer showed up with her partner and their baby—the composer Hailey had interned for. They were still good friends, they lived around the corner from Hailey. Hailey introduced them to Sophie. The baby looked at Hailey and put her finger in her mouth and tried to make a popping sound. The composer and her partner thought that was so cool, that the baby knew who Hailey was. Hailey was the woman who put a finger in her mouth and made a sound so loud it didn’t seem to be coming from a person’s mouth.

*

One day Sophie walked around the corner for some coffee which she intended to bring home, but she didn’t. She sat at a table and thought about where her life was headed, her complicated life. She understood that she was a difficult person to get to know. She had trouble expressing her happiness, the depths of her happiness. She sat and thought about the depths, and she looked into the depths of the white paper that covered the windows next door, that enigmatic and profoundly evocative blank white paper, which had materialized out of nowhere and with no explanation, just lots of guessing. She thought about her happiness and how complicated it was, so different from the pure happiness she’d once felt so long ago when she’d sat at a table just like this and struggled with the most complicated equations she could find and their countless but orderly brackets. I have some interest in staying and watching what happens next, what happens to the white paper, and I have some interest in not ever knowing for certain what happens or what people say could have happened.

 

Fortunato Salazar’s fiction has appeared in Wigleaf, Spork, SmokeLong, > kill author, Mississippi Review, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere.