They sat on opposite sides of the table in the diner. The waitress poured coffee, waited a moment. No one said anything. She left them alone.
Ruth: Not what I expected. Not really. Muscles. Didn't expect that. Her hair's gray already. Lots still dark though, like mine.
"I wasn't sure you'd come," she said.
Anna: God, she looks like me. What the hell happened? How'd they let her get those tattoos? And that hair, green-streaked for god's sake.
"I wasn't sure either," she said. "How did you find me anyway?"
Ruth: She's got tattoos. If I'd known that, I wouldn't have got these.
"I've got skills," she said. "It wasn't very hard. Just need to know where to look."
Anna: Skills? Means she's bright enough, I suppose. That's good, isn't it?
"I suppose not," she said. "I wouldn't know how to." She paused. "So, let's get to it. Why'd you want to find me?"
Ruth: Ahhh, direct. To the point. Must be where I get it. Anyway, why the hell shouldn't I want to find her?
"Wanted to see you once," she said. "See who you are."
Anna: Once? What's she looking for? Closure? That door slammed a long time ago.
"The people, the ones who adopted you. I don't remember them as the piercings and tattoos type. What happened?
Ruth: You should see what else I got pierced! So, you thought you were doing me a favor, did you?
"He discovered cocaine. She discovered booze and driving fast are a bad mix. I ended up in foster homes. Thanks for that."
Anna: Christ. So much for the middle-class white bread townies.
"I'm sorry, Ruth," she said. "You still go by 'Ruth'? I couldn't bring you up, you know that, right? My parents dumped me when they found out."
Ruth: I don't want to hear your sob story. I've enough of my own. I survived it. And you.
"Who was my dad, anyway?" she said. "That was something I couldn't find out."
Anna: Why this sudden need for information? She's better off forgetting. God, she's not pregnant, is she? Doesn't look it.
"One of the guys in the band. I went on the road with them. When I had you, I couldn't take you on the road. That's not a life."
Ruth: So you drop kicked me to the nearest upwardly-mobile yuppies who needed a kid to complete the set. Was that it?
"So," she said. "You were a groupie then?"
Anna: Bitch. She's right, of course. Damn, she's got his say-what-the-fuck's-on-your-mind way about her.
"At first," she said, "then part of the roadie crew. I still do that kind of thing. But for trade shows now."
Ruth: I can see it was tough. She looks older than she is. She knows about surviving too, I guess.
"Yeah," she said, "I found that out. Then when I saw the trade show season was starting..."
Anna: Bright. I thought so. She's a survivor. Maybe she gets that from me.
"You said you're going to college. It's a good idea, not limiting your options. You seem to have your head screwed on right."
Ruth: A bit late for you to start giving me advice, don't you think.
"Yeah," she said, "I have. Least I didn't go pop out a kid at sixteen. More willpower, better decisions."
Anna: Ouch, that hurt. Sharper than a serpent's tooth...
"Access to better birth control," she said. "And, yeah, maybe more willpower."
Ruth: Didn't mean that jab. It just came out. So much for more willpower.
"Maybe fewer opportunities," she said, "and yeah, better birth control."
Anna: Truce? I wonder.
"I'm here for a while," she said, "three trade shows, one after the other. What do you say..."