In the evening Paul returned from the bathroom to find Young Paul altercating with a white man who looked more like a sunburnt finger.
“…Don’t take it out on me!” Young Paul was shouting. “If you’re regretting your dead-end life, you should probably tell that to your dead-eyed family!”
A woman and three children were peering on in concern a distance behind the man he was chastizing. As a group they looked like a hand of melanomically pink digits.
Paul had to pull Young Paul back and apologize to the puffy gentleman in need of aloe vera.
As the family trundled off, he spun around on Young Paul. “What the hell?!”
“He started it.”
“He was so loud and self-congratulatory! They were sitting behind me and he was going on and on into my ear about Phuket and how it was such a privilege to get to try authentic Pad Thai and how it was the right thing to take leave from work because these moments with family made the sort of memories that mattered at the end of the day. And then he turned around and asked me if I had a pen. Do I look like I have a fucking pen?!”
Paul cast another glance at the misshapen family with poor sunscreen habits and understood what Young Paul was trying to get at. He pictured them in their quirky countryside house and immediately he knew that none of them would ever have to go to sleep alone after a nightmare or worry they were going to stop breathing when no one was around.
They both retook their seats and regulated their breathing.
Paul felt dumb for even the thought of asking, but he did it anyway. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Young Paul studied him. “What are you right now?”
“I’m in college.”
Young Paul considered this. “Yeah, that’s fine.”
“Unbelievable.” Paul sat back and retrained his energy on the glass doors leading from the gates. Where was Teeth?