The food arrived and I told Penny all about the festival and Cassie. I said it was only because Theo had such bad diarrhea that I even talked to Cassie in the first place. She loved the image of Theo pumping away to the beat of the music while I was attempting to make conversation like a badly programmed robot. I never really embellish my stories but when I tell them in person, I do it with some dramatic flair. After recounting how Cassie promised to meet me in London in August I finally had to take a break to breathe a little and dig into my eggs which have now gone cold.
I took my time eating sort of lost in my own thoughts and lightness of Cassie's voice as I remembered it. I look up. Penny is staring at me, manic yet unmoving and hands gripping the table like a sailor on a sinking ship.
"But Tim! It is August! And you're in London! Did she come?"
I choke on my eggs a little bit. The posh people from the table across glance my way. I shoot a look back at them that said that I would see them in hell. I look at Penny and chuckle a bit. I mean she looked ridiculous, urging me with the eyes of a midwife.
"Yes, Penny. She did. I saw her last night."
Now I thought I was done for. I expected her to lunge at me like a 'bad cop' in an interrogation and hold me up by the collar. Instead she seemed to scream internally and through her clenched teeth a high pitched whistle escaped. The table behind her look at us again. I wave at them.
I take my time with the eggs even as the whistling intesnifies. It's good to keep them waiting sometimes. Now Penny is bright red, a bright red that only English women can go. I decide to tell her about last night before she asphyxiates herself. Now she's bouncing up and down in excitement, clapping her hands like a monkey with cymbals and the whistling sound actually increases.
I reach over the table and press her shoulders down to the earth. She's buzzes up against my hands but calms down eventually. I tell her she has to eat her food before it decomposes but she seemed like she was in Bar Prague still.
She says Oh my God a few times while looking at me in the eyes. But not really at me but into my eyes to see what they saw. Oh my God. Oh my God, Tim. She asks me where Cassie is now and what I'm going to do and when I will see her again and when she will go to Oslo.
I look at my eggs and tell her I don't really know. All I know is that she's somewhere in Leeds at a ball at her old school. She was the only one of her class to actually become a professoinal ballerina so she'll be both celebrated but expected to do some sort of performance. After that she's off back to Czechia to start training for the upcoming season. Me, I'm heading West but I'll be back around sometime in winter. So, who knows, really.
I feed the rest of my eggs into Penny's open mouth. She chews with a vacant stare. This is why I don't tell people stories. We sit for a little bit longer while Penny finally begins eating all the while saying Oh my God.