Wonder 42

I think I don’t understand women.

Having grown up with Tia Berry and Mãe, I always assumed that I knew all there was to know about women: how they think, what they feel, what makes them happy.

But what I learned from my aunt and mother doesn’t seem transferable to others.

I invited Sofia over Sunday morning.

“What do you want, Charlie?” she asked when she arrived. I felt confused: she looked sad, disappointed, a little hurt, and a little angry. In fact, her face reminded me of the way that Yuki looked when I met her at the restaurant the night before.

Was there some secret handshake I was missing? All these beautiful young women, and when I look in their faces, they’re looking at me like I forgot their birthday or something.


I tried the honest approach. “I just wanted to hang out with you!” I said. “I hadn’t seen you since that first day when I moved in, and I thought it might be fun to spend some time together.”

She stayed for about five minutes, and then she “had stuff to do.”

I changed out of my pjs and started working on a new novel. This one was about a lone traveler.


I’d finished the first draft of the first chapter when Pai called.

“Bring the ferry across the waters,” he said. “It is the night for the rapazes.”

That sounded like just what a needed: hanging out with the guys. As soon as I got there, Pai texted me: Hung up. Eva. Jade. No can make it.

Ah, well. I made a few new friends. After my recent social awkwardness with Yuki and Sofia, it felt great to be able to relax–no expectations!


While I was chatting at the bar with my new friends, a young woman stepped up to ask me if I wanted to join her in a game of darts. I haven’t played much darts, but it seemed like a fun idea.

“You’re really good at this. I can tell,” she said.

“Oh, I’ve hardly ever played!” I answered.

“No. I don’t believe it. You’ve got the moves.”


Darts turns out to be a lot of fun. I got engrossed measuring the angles and calculating the best trajectories.

I looked over at my new companion, and I noticed that she seemed to be favoring her right leg. She was holding her shoulders up stiffly, too.


“Is your back OK?” I asked. “Sciatica? Stiff lower back? Tight shoulders? You know, yoga’s really good for that. Downward facing dog, maybe a few sun salutations, and you can work out all that tension so you don’t have to favor your right leg so much.”

And then, she got that look. I still don’t know what it means or what I do to bring it on, but I’m getting pretty good at recognizing it.


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