Marta approaches Joel’s table and takes a seat. She places a piece of laminated paper on the table. Joel reads it aloud:
“Hi. My name is Marta. I’m not deaf, I just like starting off without speaking. What’s your name?”
Joel looks up at the woman across the table. “Oh. Um, my name is Joel.”
Marta flips the paper over to reveal another. This one has a picture of a cat.
“Is this your cat?”
Marta nods seriously.
“You like cats?”
Marta nods again and flips the page to one with a photo of a car.
“You like cars, too?”
Marta nods and flips to the next photo.
“And pancakes?” Joel asks.
Marta nods and grunts. She glances at him and turns to the next page. It’s a photo of Marta painting her nails blue.
“That’s nice nail polish. You like painting your nails?”
Marta shrugs. She lifts the page slowly and turns it over to reveal a picture of herself painting nails again. This time it’s a foot. A decidedly masculine foot. The nail polish is bright red.
“You… like painting… men’s toenails?”
Marta smiles for the first time and nods.