1.provided with a window or windows.“the fenestrated heights of nearby buildings”
2.ANATOMYhaving perforations, apertures, or transparent areas.“the capillaries have a fenestrated epithelium”
She led me into the kitchen and sat me at the counter. Everything was spotless, gleaming and expensive with the counter-top a warm and alluring cut of tan marble. She sat across from me and read me a moment. A slight smile and that misted look that comes to eyes considering things long past.
She offered me coffee and stood to the side waiting for the pot, framed against the wide windows and leaned nonchalantly with her hands talking animatedly in the air. We ran through the list of all the names we could recall. All the people we’d known and what had become of them. Those who’d made it, who’d fallen up, who’d fallen off, those who’d fallen apart. I told her about my mother’s funeral. My son’s birth. Breezed briefly over work life, mentioned holidays, names of people she’d never met but might one day grow to like and she in turn told me stories of her life and mentioned in passing places I’d never be able to go and people I’d heard of but would likely never be able meet. And all the while with that look. As though viewing me from a great and impassable distance.
After a time she very suddenly touched my arm with a serious look on her face and asked if I still smoked. We sat at a table tucked just outside the window and tapped into an empty flower pot she took with the affectation of a naughty child knowingly misbehaving. We talked about parties she remembered, men we’d dated or slept with and for a long time felt, both of us, like young women again, returned to a heady time of exploration without responsibility. I told her of my life in Brazil and she listened with a breathless earnestness and told me she could almost taste the salt and citrus and see clearly the gleaming bodies sprawling the white beaches.
She stubbed the cigarette in a sudden rush. Half-stood and thought better of it. I was laughing and smiling at the sudden rush but her look stopped me. She sat faux-casually and brushed herself off and adopted a posture that seemed alien to me. Like another woman had suddenly taken her place. I heard the kitchen door open behind me and twisted to look back.
She said darling and rose and beamed and introduced me smoothly and with a seeming of social easiness. Her husband I knew by sight from the paper but he was taller than I expected and somehow broader with a weighty presence. I offered my hand smiling and he took it and looked me up and down without pretense then looked to the flowerpot on the table and the three cigarette butts within and then back to me.
‘I would prefer,’ he said, ‘that you would bring your own ashtray to my house if you visit future.’
My automatic reaction was to stammer but I caught myself and before I could even respond he had turned back to the kitchen and his wife followed after him and I was left alone on the small patio looking this way and that and suddenly feeling in a very different place than I had been less than half a minute before.
I moved to rise and follow the two inside but thought better of it. I sat awkward and alone and watched through the fenestrated wall as the two moved back and forth, her following a pace behind where he walked and nodding as he spoke. He turned on the spot, his jacket over his arm and said something. Pointed at her and she looked to the floor and didn’t answer. For all the stories she had told me and all that I knew of her I felt that moment the most sincere window into her life. Like a transparent sore revealing flowing blood beneath. A column of ash fell from my held cigarette and made me jump and both looked around at me. I didn’t know whether to rise or wait and so simply looked back. He said one final thing which came out the corner of his mouth like hauked saliva and turned and went further into the house.
She stood a moment not looking at me, the window a clear but solid division between us. Arranged herself. Came back outside and told me her husband had gone to work and she hoped I hadn’t found him rude but he was under a lot of pressure at the moment.