Lanai Alumni at Golden City Chinese down from Kenny’s, which is closing.

Around the table.
One woman has a dark, black line 
between her gums and teeth.
The one across from her keeps flipping her tongue,
unwrapping an imaginary Starburst,
while the one next to her keeps saying,
“Well, ooh, that’s nice.” All brown.
The man across to my right,
the darkest one, wears a checkered red and white 
worker shirt. I hear my dad say, “Hey, is dat a Lanai shirt?”
The guy nods, but he can’t hear him. 
His wife made the deaf sign earlier, shaking her head
and pointing to her ears. The one 
with the black-lined gums, and is apparently known for her ong choy.
That’s what I had today at this luncheon, with rice and gravy.
The man directly opposite me, who
seems slightly annoyed with my dad, has cataracts 
so thick he looks like a blue-eyed filipino.
He’s a manly, stern kind of guy, but the ladies
are more friendly with my dad. My dad, Bruno, with his
high pitched laugh-sigh, is the most chatty of them all
besides the “ooh, that’s nice” lady.
The guy next to me hardly says a word, but he gently
puts his hand on my shoulder when he leaves to pay. He wears
glasses I remember seeing my grandfather wear in photos.
Malcom X kind, but brown. 
I can’t stop watching the lady with the tongue.
How she forms her words! It looks like it takes 
so much effort, but her speech is smoother than 
anybody else’s at the table. It’s a round table, by the way.
I look at Shirlene, in the corner, bagging the leftovers, been with my dad a long time.
I wonder if she is ever embarrassed that they aren’t married. 
The lady from my Auntie Connie’s class at the table next to us tells me,
“Hawaii has claim to two saints now!”
I offer Shirlene some of my rice cake and she wipes off a fork and takes a piece.


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