I'm parched. I open my mouth to speak and the dry skin of my palate is grated by tongue. Words collide into each other, a shredded cheese attempt at articulation. Jaw clenched, I swallow to dredge up saliva. My throat reflexes to pull the liquid upwards but the scant fluid that makes it's way past the epiglottis evaporates in the desert of my mouth. I move to speak again, to ask for their patience but the effort only draws air in, vaporizing communication. Need relief. Curt words of excuse pop into my mind, ambushed in my gray matter by system failure. Hard disk failure detected. System will close down in 10 seconds.
One finger raised, I frantically pause the non-interchange.
water, need water.
5-6...I grip my ever present relief. The bottle tilts, water flowing out freely. My mouth baby birds upwards, liquid waterfalling down my chin as the pool in my mouth overflows. I swallow and hand-dry the water on my lower face.
Smiling in relief, I turn to renew my dialogue with the couple. "Now, how can I help you?"