Sauntering the streets of Varanasi spanned narrow uneven stone streets saturated with cows and cow pies, piles of people, small shops and street stands, all veiled in sheaths of heat. Allured by air conditioning, I stepped into a convenient store the size of my grandmother's closet and was so pleased by the heat reprieve that I felt like I might as well be a male Muslim martyr in heaven surrounded by seventy-two virgins.
My friend Pakistan followed me into the shop while I just stood, acquiescing to the air conditioning like my stomach constantly concedes to pastries.
"Are you here for hair conditioner?" my friend asked, attentive to the fact that I had accidentally packed five traveling shampoo containers and only one conditioner.
"Oh, yes. Hair conditioner," I mumbled as if in a church, apparently under the impression that whispering would prolong the arctic air supplicating my skin like a cool wrap.
When I finally approached the counter, a female employee streamed towards me, products in hands like religious offerings.
"Hello! I have face cream for you," she alleged with an arm extension.
"Oh, no thank you, I actually have never used face cream in my life. I just need some hair conditioner."
"No face cream? It will make your skin so soft! You need face cream," she confided.
I'm sure my face resembled Hulk Hogan's after a wrestling match, as it was shiny with sweat and dirty with Indian streets, but I wasn't aware that it didn't look soft. I thought all women naturally had soft skin.
"No thanks, I just need conditioner."
"You need under-eye cream. Here," the female Donald Trump informed me.
"Do I have bags under my eyes or something? I think they're okay! I have bad eyesight but under my eyes has always been fine...just conditioner," I repeated.
"Oh, you must have skin moisturizer!" she continued.
"Really, I'm pretty sure my skin is fine. Just conditioner please."
She presented me with nail cuticle oil, acne treatments, face masks, and foot scrub. I resisted body wash, scented soap, and fingernail growth formula like I abstain from too much water consumption before alcohol absorption. I left with mosquito repellent, toothpaste, and hair conditioner.
If I were to kidnap and spirit her to America I would bestow her upon the nearest car lot and get her into car sales. I wonder if I could claim a finder's fee.