Left Behind

She said:
I was standing outside the door, hoping whoever was taking so long in the bathroom wasn’t busily leaving skid marks for my viewing pleasure on the sides of the pristine toilet bowl. She came in, all lipstick and leg, French braid done up tight enough to make you think about what you could loosen. She looked at me, then the mirror. Then me again.

She was chewing her gum, slowly.

‘Is he your boyfriend?’

Her and her date were sitting two tables away, across from me and Jack. She had a clear view of his shoulders and face, and me texting all through dinner.

I looked down, uncomfortable. Intrigued. Torn by childhood upbringing that said that if an adult asks you a question you should always answer it. But why did she want to know?

I shrugged.

‘I could tell.’
Could she?
‘You are fighting?’
She could.

Her words had the lilt of a distracted yet prolific storyteller. She didn’t really care to ask because she knew she was right; the conversation had a point clear to her. She had the audience and the tale. This was about the affirmation.

So I gave it to her. She nodded.
‘Maybe if you stop facebooking, you won’t fight.’
I shook my head. ‘Why do you care?’
Her turn to shrug. ‘I don’t. But he does. And facebooking your friends won’t save you and him.’

She leaned in. It would have been perfect if she had a cigarette dangling lazily from her ruby red lips, but my imagination was going to have to do the trick.

‘Men aren’t as stupid as they look. I know it’s  hard to believe’ – the toilet flushed – ‘but it’s true.’

She straightened her skirt and herself as the door opened into the loo – lobby? ‘If you’re going to go to dinner, go to dinner. Commit. Or don’t bother.’ Commitment has always been a problem for me. This woman was psychic. She started to fix her hair as the other one left the building. I was already forgotten. I went into the bathroom.

Skid marks.


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