Simone – means one who hears.French. Derived from Simon, from the Hebrew Simeon. Italian variant Simona. Iberian variants from the 10th century: Jimena, Ximena.


As I try to read about a blind girl during World War Two, I hear three old ladies chatting behind me over coffee. I turn and look briefly. One is quiet in a lime green shirt. One wears a Joseph-and-the-Amazing-Technicolor-Dream-Coat-top as she opens a straw with her still nibble fingers. I think she must have made the coat herself. The third wears a crisp royal blue button down shirt rolled up mid forearm.

They talk about one of their granddaughters who needs surgery. They worry about it, where, when, why.

“A protrusion,” one says.
“Oh my,” another responds.
“What would happen if they don’t go to the University of Utah’s children’s hospital,” the last asks.

“She’d develop a horn in the middle of her forehead,” the one in lime green says very matter-of-factly.
“And for a girl…” She pauses dramatically. “Can you imagine?”
“The taunting she’d get.”
Lime Green shakes her head and stirs her drink.
“Oh yes, yes. How horrible,” says the Dream Coat wearer. Royal Blue agrees.

They sip their coffees out of oversized ceramic cups.
I think of a unicorn while they contemplate a devil.
A moment of silence in their conversation.
We all think and wait.

“Modern parents have it so rough,” Royal Blue says to the others finally.
“Kids don’t respect authority, think they can do what they want. With their phones and all.”
“It’s so much harder.”
Lime Green and Dream Coat agree.

The conversation changes to Ferguson, Missouri.
“Why all those problems in such a small town,” Dream Coat wonders.
“How come they are using the things of war on the people there,” Lime Green asks.
“The job of a policeman has changed a lot,” Royal Blue remarks.
“Oh, yes,” they all agree.

The conversation ebbs and flows like this, like a river hitting rocks and frothing up but continuing downstream unstoppable from topic to topic. The conversation has been going on like this for years it seems. And it will continue until dammed by the wood of death turning the river into a pool of stagnant water when just one remains alone with her thoughts.
Yes. How horrible.
I ponder being a stick in their river, rushing over pebbles, splashing into dirt, waiting to hit the dam to see what will happen. Will I float through the cracks?

Back to now, to solo downing coffee with sugar and nutmeg from a paper cup. The book lies open in my lap. My hands feverishly type Notes on my phone to get it all as accurately as eavesdropping something like this allows. Billy Joel sings to us all about sharing a drink they call loneliness. Apropos, I suppose.


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