Henry couldn't feel his mouth because he'd just been to the dentist, so I promised him some ice-cream next to the cupcake store, and we walked through a gauntlet of paparazzi with their big cameras, slouched on parking meters and sprawled on benches, their laptops open and talk of Beeeeeeely Bob Thornton being in the building across the street, and the sky was blue and I pushed Sophie in her wheelchair and I felt contempt for the paparazzi and felt bad about that, my mood, my mood. But we walked and then Henry waited on line at the Sprinkles ATM where cupcakes come out in a box, a brown little box with a sticker on top. Henry waited behind two girls that looked as if they might be bringing cupcakes back to Hugh Hefner in his Holmby Hills mansion just up the road. A large man with shorts and shoes wrapped in masking tape stood with his sign, asking for food. A large group of fully veiled Muslim women had moved from the cupcake machine to the ice-cream store and were wrangling their sons, and the dapper man sitting at the table next to me and Sophie spoke in quick Hebrew to his own children grabbing at his pockets for money. My mind wandered toward the Middle East, the Gaza Strip, a wandering I hadn't had in a while, and I imagined my eyebrows raised and I imagined a bomb going off but things don't happen like that in Beverly Hills. A little girl with a pale drawn face walked by Sophie and stared so completely that her head nearly turned round backwards, and when it almost did, I glared at her and thought ugly thoughts and then wondered why I couldn't be the sort of person whose mind didn't travel toward contempt of a a Beeeeeeely Bob Thornton shot, toward bits of people who hate one another flying around a cupcake store, toward hatred of a tiny child staring at my daughter as if she were a strange and exotic animal in a zoo.
I did notice the sun glinting off the palm tree in the blue sky in the shiny brown of my table-top, when I ducked my head.