“Today is the day”, I share as I lean towards you in our booth. The low lights and light jazz in the background blocks out the weekend rush sounds of traffic. A husky tenor voice coos over the speakers, and I snuggle into the booth cushions, clasping my mug in cupped hands covered with the too-long sleeves of my shirt.
“Today is the second to the last day before I become accountable for my actions,” I whisper over the buzz of the other lounge guests. I smile wryly, and shrug.
“I’m going to get on track with my health goals. That means diet and exercise. And it starts this week.” I gauge your reaction and nod. “Yup, so this might not be hot cocoa,” I gesture at my mug, “but hot milk for awhile.”
I pull out a vial filed with dark liquid and pour it into my cocoa. Then I shake in a healthy pinch of cayenne pepper and stir. “It’s been one of those weeks,”I say in reply to your stare of concern. “A bit of whiskey doesn’t hurt anyone, although I do understand if this was in bad taste for you.”
I take a healthy gulp, the mug clatters onto the dark table and a ring starting to form on the cherry wood. “I definitely need to relax, work will be 1000mph/kph next week and I need to unwind so I can sleep. Big projects and grand plans are coming to fruition and I’m short handed. Better not to think about that now, keep work and rest separate, know what I’m saying?”
I run my fingers through my hair. “Oh, you like it?” I pull out a blond braid from the messy bun. “Got it done when I went home. I have green cornrows in the back with neon and dark green mixed in with black.” I twist around so you can see it.
“With a new look comes new responsibilities.” I look down at myself and shake my head. “Gotta whip the jiggle into shape, gotta focus on developing body in addition to mind, ya know?” Another gulp and I sigh. “Can’t screw this up, I have a plan and I will fucking stick with that plan!”
My eyebrows scrunch as I frown. “I might blog about this, add to the accountability factor. But I’m embarrassed to talk about my weight thang since honesty would be a huge component. But I gotta do it for me, not for how I think the audience will react.”
“Besides, the moment I’m on track with my body, I’ll be planning my new wardrobe.” I smile, eyes light up. “I’m thinking vests. Nice vests, with ties and dress pants with colorful men shirts. And a hat, one that’s real smart.” I grin at the image. “I can’t wait.”
The saxophone takes over for a solo, I close my eyes and lean to the side, bliss flooding my features. I tap my fingers on the table to the rhythm and continue to speak, eyes sliding open again.
“Last night I went to my friends farewell party. She’s graduated and headed back to her home country. I told her I’d visit in 6 months, and I intend to. Gotta see the dog she plans to own and the country she describes and just get away from here.” I take another gulp, eyes glazed and far away. “I’d like to keep that friendship, I’m willing to put in the time and effort for something so precious. Lunch every Friday seemed so easy, but literally was very hard for me to realize and understand how to continue building friendships after that instant connection. Before I realized it, I’d been friends with her for a year. ”
“You know, I met some of her other acquaintances who kept asking ‘where did you guys meet?’. I’m like ‘At a house party, a year ago’. She’s the one who said I danced well, the one I got to mimic me when she said she couldn’t dance. The one I drank wine with and chatted for hours at that kitchen island. The one who gave me her number and asked that we get together again sometime. The cool girl with whom I clicked with so much that I nearly panicked, wondering if she would think I was just as awesome when I hadn’t had wine-flavored cleverness on my tongue.”
My lips curl happily. “She helped me survive the year, and I hope I was a good friend for her too, even if we just ranted together on a weekly basis.”
I raise the mug to my lips, tilt my head back and quaff the remainder. I set the empty snowflake ceramic back into the drying ring on the table and lean back with contentment. “I think I’ll be okay,” I whisper. “I’ll miss her, but I’ll be okay. Gotta get on the texting thing probably, I’m not a huge facebook person, but we’ll see…”
“I’ll miss her though.”
The song in the background closes with a suspended note that draws the sweetest sound from the tenors voice. The instruments encircle it, wrapping it in a warm fuzzy crescendo that crests the wave on the shore of conclusion. I shell out currency and leave it on the table, pulling on my jacket and glancing back at you.
“Thanks for listening, I think I needed to talk about this.”
Same time next week?