Today, I was determined to have a “real” Saturday; no working all day on the laptop.
I had spotted The Green Mile on the bookshelf at the guesthouse earlier. I’ve never read the book, but I’m in love with the movie, so I threw it in my daypack. I left my iPad and laptop behind and set out toward the town on foot.
There weren’t many places open for lunch, but I found a little French patisserie by the beach and ordered a chevre chaud salad (hot goat cheese). Then I pulled out my reading glasses and The Green Mile and settled in to enjoy a nice long read. I opened the book and discovered that it was in German!
I stupidly skimmed the reviews, the foreword, the “about the author” page in disbelief; as if some sections of a German-language edition might be printed in English. Nope. Of course not.
Since I had nothing else to do while I waited, I thumbed through the book. I could make out the character names. The dialogue was so close to the movie that I could figure out a few scenes.
Like, early in the book:
>Dein Name ist John Coffey?<<
>Jawohl, Sir, Boss, wie Kaffee, nur anders geschrieben.<<
>Du kannst also buchstabieren? Lesen und schrieben?<<
>Nur meinen Namen, Boss<<
Your name is John Coffey?
Yes, sir, boss, like the drink, only spelled different.
You can spell? Read and write?
Just my name, Boss.
OK, that was kind of fun. My salad was fun too, dotted with raisins and pecans and apples and served with warm, gooey goat cheese on little toast rounds.
After lunch, I started walking back to the guest house, but then realized I had nothing to do there except work. I turned onto the main road for a nice long walk in the sunshine instead.
On a whim, I popped into a massage place. $20 for a one-hour full-body Bali massage, no appointments needed. My feet and legs still give me trouble from time to time, and I had a strange ache in my back since I laid down a scooter in the gravel the day before. A massage could help, right?
The girl had me strip and lie down and pretty soon she was sitting on me, pushing all her weight into the back of my ribcage. That’s when the ache in my back developed a clear shape, and I realized it was a deep bruise where the handlebar of the scooter had hit me (the bike slid out from under me to the right while I did a slow-motion faceplant to the left).
Still, the massage was heavenly. After a while she had me turn over and then she rubbed my legs, carefully working around my skinned-up knees. She pulled the sheet down and rubbed my tummy, which they always do here as part of a massage.
Then she started rubbing my boobs! Not my pectoral muscles (although she did those too) but my actual breasts. This has never happened before. I had to try not to laugh out loud, thinking “this is the most action I’ve seen in months.” I’m not sure what the point of it was. Maybe she just liked my boobs? Maybe she wanted to give them some moisture?
She also slapped my feet, beat my back, and dry rubbed me with crusty towels. Somehow, it all added up to a damn nice massage for $20.
After the massage, I clipped up my greasy hair (why don’t massages therapists ever wipe the oil off their hands before they rub your scalp?) and set out for home again.
But on my way past the Mexican place, I couldn’t help myself. A mojito, please, and nachos and guac. Yeaaaahhhhh. Pulled out The Green Mile and thumbed through it until I found this dialogue near the end:
>Wie heißen Sie?<<, fragte Melinda.
>John Coffey, Ma’am<<
>Wie das Getränk?<<
>Ja, Ma’am, nur anders geschrieben.<<
What’s your name? asked Melinda
John Coffey, Ma’am
Like the drink?
Yes, ma’am, only spelled different.
And lower on the page, among some other paragraphs:
>Ja, John Coffey?<<
>Ich sehe es…Ich sehe es, und ich kann helfen. Halt still… Halt ganz still…<<
Yes, John Coffey?
I see it. I see it, and I can help. Hold still… Hold real still.
At this point, I’m sniffling over my Mojito from memories of the movie, 100% committed to downloading this book in English no matter how much it costs.
A few pages later I spotted another sentence I could decipher:
>Dinge der Green Mile blieiben auf der Green Mile.<
I’ll let you figure that one out.
Quick recap: French lunch, German book, Bali massage, Mexican nachos, American author, all in Malaysia. Das ist gut, ja? I think I’ll have Indian for dinner! I’ve already downloaded the Green Mile in English to my iPad!