"Believe you me: No woman likes to have three men hit her in the face with their ejaculating penises."
Adam, nearly choking, asks her to stop, go away, and she wonders whether leaving him to his own devices, the phone and the laptop and the games and amusements, is really the best fit for this summer. Having discovered, proof of which now inalienable, the most wonderful toy in the world, a device that does less than most gadgets but makes up in quality what it loses in features, why on earth would he do anything for the rest of the summer but play with it? (Fourteen is well past the point, of course, but today is the day masturbation stopped being theoretical, and Cathy needs to process quickly.)
There is screaming, and Cathy hears her son say fucking, he says, "I'm not a fucking child!" just like that, fucking, and she screams with an operatic crack of her own, "Do not say fucking!" Because today is the day fucking stopped being theoretical; because it's not just an intensifying descriptive gerund anymore, but an action verb in its own right: Fucking, all of a sudden, is on the agenda. Fucking fucking.
It's not just women -- like the woman at the counter of the nursery, who lied -- and it's not just men, it's not about gender or even age but it can feel like that, if you're a woman, past a certain age who has forgotten that she's beautiful, it can often feel like you're invisible because you are a woman of a certain age, living with one eye covered or two. You simply take it in, like a bullet, like unkindness, where you feel most vulnerable: When you've forgotten how beautiful you are, and started to believe you were only ever designed to be looked at, this will be your function.
The waiter doesn't see Cathy Jamison, as she waits to meet her husband Paul. He walks by, again and again, and never quite sees her. She speaks up -- not loudly, never loudly, they might think she was rude, somehow less than a woman -- but he keeps going, working, busy as a bee. Paul arrives, late as usual, wearing an eyepatch. One eye covered.
She laughs, jokes about him swabbing the deck; it was a sports injury. It was a metaphor. She reminds him that she always said he'd hurt himself, at rugby, and he thanks her, calling her Clair, as in Clair Voyant. Perhaps this is a joke he's told before. Cathy Jamison is his wife, he's certainly heard "I told you so" before, being who he is in turn. He orders two glasses of water from the waiter, who sees him sitting in the chair; he does this distractedly, without looking up, and the waiter fulfills the need, without looking down.