It was too cold to eat outside. But Lisa had decided. It was planned. And she wanted to show off the garden. It was small and just this side of wild. With fence all around and buildings and trees, it felt like the bottom of a canyon or the heart of a secret. The house on its steel stilts loomed above it a rectangle, surrounded by weathered redwood, cottonwood trees, eucalyptus and Eugenia shrubs grown into towering trees that hung over the space and dropped dark purple berries everywhere. She had found a round, iron table at a yard sale and chairs and a flat space to put them on. She had swept away the berries and the leaves and clipped back the wild roses. The pale dirt was packed down too hard to work, so she bought clay pots, orange against the green and filled them with little flowering plants from the supermarket. The empty plastic boxes were still there.
Everything had to be carried down from the kitchen which was at street level through her bedroom and out the sliding glass door. She had a pitcher of hot coffee, cream, sugar, cheese, fruit, bread, salsa, eggs and butter.
Sam carried almost all of it, on a tray Lisa stole from work. He was gallantly enthusiastic.
She noticed a broken bottle in the dirt under the roses. The table tipped.
He found a rock to put under one leg. He teased her a little.
She wore a sweater over her sundress, twisted her long hair into a knot, untwisted it and twisted it up again. Their long legs touched under the table.
He leaned away.
She was an expert in him, in the lean, the smile, the glance. The language she could translate but not speak. She put on sunglasses. She asked him questions. As usual, she found it hard to eat but easy to talk to him, to listen to his stories. He had been all around the world while she was here in Hollywood, transplanting supermarket flowers and waiting tables.