torn

part two in a week-long series about the rituals associated with napkins...yes, napkins

i look in her eyes and notice
for the first time
how often she blinks.
she laughs raises her eyebrows lowers her eyebrows presses her lips together.
i start to speak and she is nodding
already
before i've gotten two words out
she is nodding.
her chin is tipped down
slightly
and her eyes are looking up at me
slightly
so that i know she is
righttherewithme.
what i do not know
is that she is sitting on her hands
because her therapist has suggested that she try it.
what i also do not know
is that if she weren't sitting on her hands
she would already be three rips into her napkin,
on her way to having 64 perfectly-torn squares in a little stack,
on her way to having six of those stacks in a row beside her fork before the entree is served,
on her way to arranging those six stacks in a three columns of two and then two columns of three.
what she does not know
is how long she can sit still.