“I like the idea of doing charity work more so than actually doing it.” Vail had just finished an afternoon of volunteer work with troubled kids. “It’s a lot of work.” She sighed, sipping on her latte or whatever the hell it was. “It’s so much work.”
“You know what I’ve realised?”
“That I have no idea what I want or what’s going on. I mean, I have goals, but…” I began mumbling, trying to figure out what I was trying to say.
She giggled. “I have no idea what you’re saying.”
“I mean, all it takes is one emotional speech to persuade a group of people to completely change what they stand for… I don’t think people really know what they want. It’s like we’re driving cars in vast open spaces, looking for anyone to tell us where to go.”
“I guess that’s the cost of freedom.”
“What do you long for?” I asked Vail.
“I don’t know.” Her phone vibrated and she quickly picked it up. She texted someone, then put it aside. “What do I long for? A cold shower. What do you long for, Dean?”
“Constant sex. Constant reassurance that I’m doing the right thing. Constant wealth. Constant happiness. Like some escape somewhere but I don’t know where. I mean, we can escape to somewhere better, but for how long will it be better for, right? Happiness is always something temporary? I don’t know, I think I need help.”
“Yeah I suppose…” Vail’s mind was back on her phone. She texted someone again, a selfie this time. Eventually: “My mum makes me pluck her armpits.”
“Not too often.”
“Does she pluck your armpits?” I asked her.
“Not too often.”
Vail put her phone away again and proceeded to tell me about a week she spent in North Korea four years ago, and then I proceeded to tell her about what I was paying for private healthcare. She kept going on about North Korea but I kept steering the conversation back to private health. She finally responded and said she wasn’t paying that much for private health, really, and in turn I asked her if she had life insurance, and she said no. I then told her that she should get an ING savings account, and she said, “Yeah, I already have one,” and we spent the next half hour talking about various savings accounts and why you need one that beats, or at least equals, inflation. Vail then gave an offhanded remark about Donald Trump, and, rolling my eyes, I said, “I know, right?”
Vail finished her drink and I did too. We drove to the shopping mall, looked at a few things; I helped her choose a few Christmas presents for her relatives and friends. Afterwards, we smiled and hugged and said bye to each other and walked towards our cars, which were parked in two completely different car parks.
Book I’m currently reading: Here I Am.