Cocktails With Nefertiti
By Herbert W. Piekow
The first thing I noticed about her was the leopard spotted blouse and the way the spots moved on her ample breasts as she maneuvered towards where I sat alone enjoying my evening cocktail on Chapultepec Avenue. Most evenings, when I am in my Guadalajara apartment, I like to sit on the stone benches on Chapultepec where I can feel the vibrancy of the city and observe the people and traffic. After making eye contact, she approached, as I knew she would; I noticed the spots on her skirt were darker brown than the almost orange spots of her blouse and I surmised the two pieces had definitely been purchased independently from one another, but worn with pride.
I stood, she extended her hand; “My name is Nefertiti, like the Queen of Egypt.” I thought of responding by saying something like, “You’re not the first queen I’ve met,” but instead was surprised by her firm grip and whiff of good perfume as we touched right cheeks.
“Vamos a sentarnos!” I said indicating a spot on the bench for us to sit.
“I am from Tijuana,” she volunteered. “Where are you from?”
I didn’t know if she wondered about my obvious accent, which a Mexican woman recently described as, “pretty,” or if Nefertiti wanted to know my whole history. We chatted a little, she crossed her legs, pulled the printed nylon skirt above, her thick knees, kicked off one of her dark brown high heeled shoes and said; “I would like a drink, if you bring me one.”
I took a sip from my nearly empty tumbler. “I only have tequila, vodka and Squirt.”
“Whatever you drink,” she said and pointed an index finger with a silver ring towards my glass. Her wrists looked to be stronger and thicker than mine. I stood, took my glass and assured her I would return, “muy pronto.” As I locked the apartment complex gate behind me I looked to where Nefertiti sat with her slightly hunched back facing my building and I wondered whatever have I done?
I thought about making a couple of quesadillas, but in the interest of time cut up some imported goat cheese and opened a foiled packet of Saladitas which I arranged on a plate; mixed our drinks, put a couple of napkins on the tray and left the apartment wondering if I would drink alone, or get to know more of Nefertiti.
She sat with her still crossed legs, hands folded, lady-like in her lap and a smile on her face. Her lower teeth were a shade darker than her looser fitting uppers. “I’m glad you came back,” she said, and reached for a proffered drink on the round rattan serving tray.
I didn’t know where to begin, as I felt I’d already encouraged her friendship with my hospitality. “What brings you to Guadalajara from Tijuana?” My question was more to fill the silence and a polite way to gain knowledge of my guest.
“My daughter is sick, she is in the hospital,” she said as she swallowed half her drink.
Everyone on the street corner always has a sick child with liver orkidney failure, I thought, not at all surprised by her response.
“She has failure of the riñon.” A pained look crossed her heavily made up face.
“I am very sorry,” my words seemed as false as my concern. I wondered which would come first, a request for money or a sip of her drink.
She wrapped her fingers with their blunt, but red polished nails, around the tumbler, the ice clinked, she sipped at the tequila and Squirt before saying, “I’m clean.”
“That’s nice.” It’s been years since I’ve slept with a woman and had no inclination to do so now.
“I need $300 pesos for my rent.” She spoke quickly probably realizing I was not going to allow her to earn anything through trade.
“I’ll do what I can,” I said, handing her some pesos from my wallet. I have always tried to be charitable to those in need, just as Jesus and the Prophet Mohammed instructed. With a gracious smile Nefertiti accepted less than her stated needs; she finished her cocktail and rose to leave. I rose to wish her well, we embraced for our goodbyes and as we brushed cheeks I thought, Nefertiti needs a shave.