Regina

Regina has deep green eyes and soft brown hair. There was a pause,  a comfortable pause, we both knew what would follow and had to let it build up a little for it to be true. Then she spoke.

        – I’m going to come back.

        – Good for you.

        – You don’t believe me?

        – Sure I do.

        – Thank you.

        – For what?

       –  For helping me.

        – Okay.

        – When I come back I want to buy you a drink.

        – That won’t be necessary.

        – Then let’s go for coffee.

        – Right.

        – I mean it.

       –  I know you do.

        – So? Maybe you can give me your number or something? I don’t think they’ll let me have it if I ask…

        – I think we’re done now.

        – No number?

        – No number.

        – Good bye?

        – Good bye.

She’s 18, got into trouble here and needed repatriation to Germany. I was asked to evaluate her and write up the report for the insurance company. The situation was complicated and required tact and care— she wasn’t easy. All through our first conversation Regina was trying to figure me out, calibrating me, testing me; wanting to know what I wanted to hear, who she needed to be for me to like her. I relaxed and listened; asked a couple of questions, let her do the steering, let her take me for the ride, let her show me how smart she was.  She’s smart, very smart. Knows men and knows how to handle them.

 Last year she spent six months in Spain, living with a boyfriend next to the beach. That boyfriend was 56 years-old. That’s a 38 year age gap.  She smiled, she cajoled, she cried and finally, she was brilliant—just to let me enjoy her cleverness. We talked about violin music and violin players; I had to play catch up but she’d always slowed down if I fell to far back. I knew what she wanted— if, the insurance company could establish she’d knowingly lied to them, it was over, she’d get a tough deal, and would have to pay for all expenses incurred. She needed a break and I let her have it; the Germans would come and pull her out sometime after midnight, I signed the papers. I got a telephone call from a man in Germany; he was brief, I was brief—we both appreciated each other’s brevity.

Maybe she did figure me out.

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