Through a thick accent —but not so thick that my overall understanding of what she says is hindered— she says that, “I do not believe in shortcut.” I nodded in acknowledgement of her bold statement and general wherewithal. Then I pointed out that, “Yes, I understand what you mean. The saying is ‘shortcuts.’ You don’t believe in either taking shortcuts or in shortcuts or taking a shortcut.” Tilting her head to the side, she looks at me and clarifies that, “But the idea of shortcut is anytime a person wants to take easy way, shortcut or like shortcutting.” “Yes,” I respond; “You’re correct in the definition and grasp the concept. I’m just saying that you need an article when you’re referring to a singular shortcut.” She thinks for a moment, then asks, “What did I say?” “You said, ‘I do not believe in shortcut’.” “But I should say, ‘I do not believe in shortcuts’?” “Yes, or you could say ‘in a shortcut’.” “Oh, okay. Well, you know what I mean. So it doesn’t matter too much. Right?” “Uh, yea, sure.” “Great,” she smiles.

I’ve met with her on a number of occasions for the express purpose of hanging out, eating food, and practicing her English, and honestly, it’s nice to have a friend who isn’t single thereby allowing the conversation to meander elsewhere other than around boys, men. Well, with the exception of that one time, which continues to linger on, when she needed my opinion on a sensitive matter regarding her husband and a certain … explicit … video she found on his computer a month or so ago.

The restaurant smells like a place that’s trying its damnedest to smell like roasted garlic and buttery bread. I push around a few noodles of spaghetti and try to cover the look on my face, “Wait, why were you telling me about not believing in shortcuts?” “Oh, right, well, I can’t remember now,” she states and then begins to think with hopes of remembering. “Something about how, uh, what it was? What were we talking of?” I think back for a moment now as well, “Maybe something about working out?” She nearly jumps out of her booth, “Right! That’s was it. I’ve been working out a lot again, and I think that it’s stupid how you have to workout all the time or every day or you get fat again.” I nod my head despite the fact that we’ve had this exact conversation many many times before, “Yea, that’s sort of how it works.” “Yea but there are like ways that is easy to lose weight.” “Um, maybe.” “Pills and things.” “ … “ “But no, I do not believe in shortcut … shortcuts? Like other people who do that things.” She sighs, “Uh, if I could just get a better job.”

“You have a good job.”

“No. I have to work so much.”

“Do you? I think that you have a pretty nice schedule.”

“But I don’t get paid enough.”

“You don’t?”

“No. Well, I do. Yea, I mean I have money. I have good … what is it? Like … “


“Yea, but I don’t get enough work to have the good pay be a lot of money.”

“So what do you want?”

“I want to work only a little and get paid a lot.”

“Don’t we all.”

“Yea, how do rich people do it?”

“I’m pretty sure that, unless you’re born rich, rich people work a lot.”

“Well, maybe I need a rich husband.”

“You have a husband. Doesn’t he make good money?”

“No. Oh, yea, I mean yea. I guess. He pays all the bills.”

“So, then what do you do with your money?”

“Oh, it’s mine to spend after I pay him back for my phone bill and half of … like electricity and stuff.”


I spin my fork in my pasta and take a small bite. “But, you know, I just want more money.” “Yea, I guess it would be nice not to have to work.” “What do you mean?” “What? What do you mean?” “I just want to have high pay.” “But do you not make enough for your lifestyle and bills and such?” “No, yea, I do, but then there’s nothing leftover.” “To save? Like it’s tough to save right now?” She chuckles, “Save? No, there’s not enough to like buy stuff.” “What stuff?” “You know, I just want to buy stuff and have a nice house and nice car and be rich.” “Oh.” “Yea.” “I mean, those sorts of things would be nice, I guess.” “Ugh, I wish I will win a lottery.”