The woman in the row behind me says
that her arthritis feels like her hands are
in hot tallow. Her husband says he hasn’t
smelled a thing since the wedding in Victoria.
A nerve is pressing on his sinus cavity.
“They could operate but who needs it?”
The small lady next to him, the one whose
back pack smacked me in the head as
she entered, says she can’t taste anything
because of her allergies. Or is it her
sensitivity to lactose? No matter. It’s so
bad that whatever tastes do penetrate
the mists are simply too intense to
bear. I know the feeling. On the field
the shortstop takes a strike. “Another
ball,” says I Can’t Taste. “This pitcher
is wild.” The batter turns the next
pitch around, lining out into the glove of
the centre fielder for the second out.
“Another hit,” chirps up Arthritis.
“They’ll have to take him out now.”
Two pitches later, the runner on second
lights out for third, beating the catcher’s
peg by a good half second. “He never
had a chance,” clucks Taste Lady. “Do
you want to go? I’ve seen enough.”
And so the three of them decamp in
the middle of the sixth with the score
tied and the go-ahead run on third. They
seem very happy as they disappear into
a late-summer night, searching for their cars.
Without smell. Without taste. With arthritis.