Sunday, November 15, 2009

Jealousy 12

I’ve just put some M&Ms in my mouth. The question catches me off guard and I choke on an almond, causing my eyes to water profusely. Laura laughs and then looks concerned. Finally, I recover. I try to take deep breaths, but it only sends me into another spell of coughing. I am alarmed by the pain, but mostly I am struck by how painful my life is. What can I tell her? My voice is raspy when I excuse myself to get a drink.

I dilly dally in the kitchen, coughing whenever I feel the urge in order to give myself more time. I waver between grabbing a glass of water or making hot chocolate. I already feel overloaded from the sweetness of the candy and decide that the extra time is not worth the sick feeling I will have if I try to suck down something equally as rich in flavor. I fill my glass and grab a few Kleenexes to dab the moisture out of my eyes.

When I return to the living room, Laura is trying to subdue her laughter. I pretend to scowl at her and then let my body drop heavily on the couch. My throat is still tender. I take a long, slow drink of water and then carefully set it down on the Kleenex. I pull out the little drawer from its cozy place in the middle of the table and take out a coaster. Laura brought the coasters back from her trip to the Gaudi Temple in Barcelona, Spain a few years ago. I am hoping when we part ways, she will leave them to me. I love how the reds, blues, and golds of the smooth glass crashes into the jagged metal rivers that spread chaotically through them. I set my drink on the one that is predominantly red and look back up to Laura.

Her laughter has subsided. She is twirling a long strand of her curly hair around her finger. She does this unconsciously when she is impatient. “What did you ask me?” I say casually. I am hoping she forgot and that I can gain control of the conversation.

“I said, what’s going on in your life?” She is too direct and I know she suspects something. I just don’t know what or how.

I consider giving her a story, something to occupy her. I’m not sure she will buy it. She seems too certain of what she is after. Her confidence shows in her eyes and posture. I have to come clean. Well, as clean as I have ever come with Laura on this particular subject. “Why don’t you tell me what you already know and I will fill in the gaps and details.” It should be a question, but it comes out sounding more like an order.

“I don’t know too much,” she says with a calmness I wish I could claim. “I ran into a friend who knows someone who works at Wollensky’s. She said you were sent home from work. My friend couldn't remember why. She thought it had something to do with one of your co-workers.”

I want to breathe a huge sigh of relief. Inside, I am doing cartwheels. Outside, I grimace. “So, I am the new gossip girl, huh?” She shrugs her shoulders while raising her hand in a motion that means sort of. “Okay then!” I say, looking at the ceiling and throwing my hands in the air in a mock surrender. “So, there is this guy I kind of have liked for a little while and we occasionally work together at the restaurant. I guess you could call it a crush. My co-workers do. Anyway, he showed up to eat their last night with his new girlfriend. And fortunately for me, I had to wait his table. You should have seen this pretty little perky blonde thing hanging all over him. I don’t know. I guess I was jealous and a little bit hurt that I wasn’t the one with him. I don’t know exactly what I did. I thought I was just doing my job, waiting tables. But Mark, the kitchen supervisor last night, called me over and told me I was…. How did he put it…. “ogling a guest while ruefully staring at his date” or something like that anyway. And then he sent me home and told me I better behave when I came to work tonight. I felt like such an idiot! I left and came home, curled up in bed, and cried my eyes out.”I am startled that it all came rolling out of my mouth so easily. So much of it is honest and true. I just changed the identity of the person. I feel so much better talking about it. I look at Laura hopefully.

She has a huge smile on her face and a glint in her eye. She bursts out laughing. Hard. I am dismayed. I shared something that is so painful to me and she is showing her support by laughing at me? I am torn between feeling betrayed and feeling angry until she almost falls off the couch. I crack a smile at the panicked flailing of her limbs and realize how funny the whole thing sounds. It is ridiculous in many ways. So much unlike myself. And then I start to laugh a full, round, belly laugh. Laura feeds off of it and laughs even harder, alternating between pounding the pillows with her fist and pointing at me, her mouth gaping open. In turn, I start to howl, clutching my side and kicking my feet. We both laugh until tears stain our cheeks, our abs are sore, and we have to make the choice to breathe or suffocate. It is utterly freeing.

When we finish gulping down air and getting control of the giggle aftershocks, I look at her seriously. “Laura, tell me what to do? I need your help on this one. I am so lost!” The desperation in my voice surprises me. I want to take it back. I can't. I cast my eyes down, hoping she will let it pass by. Instead, she stands up and walks over to me. She is smiling, but a small tear has formed in her eye. She is holding her bottom lip between her teeth as she takes the few steps needed to round the table and sit on the love seat next to me. She wraps her arms around me hugging me tight.

“I never thought you would ask. Miss Laura Venus Pollasky has come to your rescue.” And I relax in her hug, knowing she will indeed help me. Attracting men has always been something she could do easily. In her own right, she is a goddess of love.


  1. This is a different turn than I expected. But I really like it.

    only a little lie or did you not mean to have her say they work together at the restaurant?

    Will she call in sick?

    Will Laura figure out who it is?

    I am excited!

  2. I meant for her to change his identity by going off what Laura already believed.... it had something to do with a co-worker.

    I don't know what's next. I didn't expect this turn of events either. It just kind of came out on paper before I fully processed it.