The short story follows the trail of thoughts Maya has as she waits for Richie, her husband, to arrive in the high-class dining hall. Through the lens of the third point of view, we get to know a little bit about the protagonist and some of her deepest thoughts. She shares these in a matter of minutes.
It starts with Maya in a place described to be fancy and filled with mostly middle-aged women. The venue is decorated with nice architecture. She feels the grandeur of the place and the people around her which makes her conscious of how she should behave. And so, she adapts quickly. She orders a nice glass of wine to match the atmosphere. She carefully chooses her actions and executes them with manners to show decency. Her poise is exquisite.
Maya is also very detail-oriented. Maybe a reason for this is her age. She has just entered her thirties. She has a family of her own‒Richie and her two children. She never forgets to take care of herself especially after giving birth and noticing that age is currently betraying her. Her job also requires this trait. Being a banker is not and will never be an easy job. She says that her brain needs to be sorted into folders. It is natural for her to think in that certain way. It keeps her roles in life balanced.
Maya states that she is contented with her life. She believes her life is great, not until she hears a loud giggle in the room. She sees an old lady accompanied by a young man who stands out to her. He is eye candy. There is no doubt he is. He fills the whole space of old people with his youth. She tries to reach for her husband again, but he doesn’t answer his phone. This leads us to her deepest thoughts.
Maya starts thinking that her husband is nowhere as manly as the young man in front of her, Andrei. She sees the couple being affectionate with each other. She looks away thinking about how gross it is to show affection publicly. She admits that that is also how they behaved when Richie and she were just a newly married couple, but now, it is not necessary. The longer she stares at Andrei, the deeper her thoughts get. She starts having wild thoughts about him and shushes herself when she becomes aware of where her mind has taken her. She caresses the age lines on her face which brings her back to the past. Old days when everyone still hit on her despite knowing she is married. She admits how she almost said yes to playing with those insatiable men. She finds it irritating how this old lady is doing dirty stuff with Andrei thinking there could also be a family waiting for her to come home. She quickly snaps back to reality and is surprised that the old lady and Andrei are looking directly at her.
After reading this part of the short story, I immediately thought of how hypocritical Maya is. She thinks she is all prim and proper, but her mind says otherwise. If only people can hear what is inside others’ heads, the old lady who she called a witch has probably already pulled her hair. Her voyeurism jumps out as soon as she sees the sight of Andrei. She finds the old lady disgusting when she, a complete bystander, starts thinking about sexual things with him. This even digs out her past where she was tempted to have an affair. Although it is very hard to completely judge Maya because the short story only barely entails a slice of her life, I can still say she thinks highly of herself when she should not. She is just like any other woman of her age‒an even way worse one. The story shows this through the use of the bathroom as a metaphor. At first, she imagined it to be a fully furnished one, but in reality, it looks disappointing and there is nothing special about it. Just like her, an ideal woman outside, but a very typical one inside.
The conflict of a person versus himself is very evident in this short story. Maya tries her best to fight the thoughts she is having. She defends herself from the mistake she almost committed years back. She justifies it by asking who has not thought of having an affair. She says any married woman has considered doing it. She does a lot of talking by herself, showing us how she thinks. She assumes everyone sees the world like her.
The short story is very simple yet very impactful. I think it is something that everyone can relate to, but maybe in terms of different things. We tend to be judgemental when seeing people for the first time. The first thing we do is find the bad things in them‒perhaps, something that we can bash, so we can bring them down to bring ourselves up. We often put ourselves high up when we are just like any other person in the world. Someone who has lots of secrets and flaws.