“Oh god,” she says, lilting her voice just so,
and turning her gaze from phone to friend
she just shakes her head and smiles. “Sorry.
You were saying?” But curiosity and all that,
you ask what’s up and she waves it off. A
boy, she says, “now let’s talk about yours.”
Bonding over midday alcohol: Bloody Mary
and Mimosa shells litter the table and only
two girls remain. Box shaped, one, she still knows
how to hold herself gracefully. Legs crossed and
fitted with tights, she nearly leers at you, so eager
she is for gossip and then, her opinion to be heard.
This has come up before, and as the discussion
goes on you know where it will lead, has led before:
“break up,” are the words. They are advice, a relief,
“Yes, no, you need to,” she urges seriously, looking
back on her phone, then back to you nodding her head,
thick black frame glasses bobbing almost imperceptibly.
And of course you know, and of course you sigh, and
of course you’ll break up with “your boy,” you’ve only
got the one. Free from fidelity, that tricky captor,
and free to go after what you want in life, because
it isn’t this. This is stagnation, the motions mimed,
the kisses best if avoided these days for some reason.
They are right, she is right, with her New York
flair and competent attitude. When did she outstrip
you in confidence? you think, noticing and dealing
with the dregs of your drink. Who to give the celery to?
But she is signing the check, (she can pick up drinks
these days) and you two are leaving the brunch zone,
both glancing at phones, checking for messages you
may have missed, though you know there aren’t any.
The advice has turned into a mission, one you have to
complete, have completed before. But how easy will it
be this time, seeing him at the door, stupid grin on his
face, arms hungry for a hug, words on his lips;
then you, there to tell him, “no more.”