“Hi, how are you? You look great.” and we settle into the booth, purses down and menus picked up.
“I love your hair. Did you just get it done?” I smile while you talk about lowlights and layers and your awesome new stylist.
and I think about the box of permanent color I picked up on sale yesterday and the 40 minutes of sitting half naked on the toilet seat while my roots turn brown. An awesome stylist feels like a luxury and I hope my self-coloring job isn’t too obvious.
“So how are you? How’s your husband?” and I glance at the rock on your finger while you detail the romantic evening he planned for your anniversary.
my thumb searches out the newly empty spot on my left finger and my heart tightens. But I quickly blink away the tears before you notice and cover the pain with a smile. You don’t want to hear about my chaos, do you.
“My job? Yeah, I’m still transcribing. It’s great.” and it is, mostly.
but I don’t say that my hours have dropped and I’m struggling to find work. I can’t tell you about the nights I lie awake worrying over finances. Or that this lunch will use up the last twenty bucks available on my credit card.
And I take another bite while you paint your beautiful life around me. I watch you maneuver croutons to the side with fingertips in pink and chevron, straighten the long necklace against the cutest little top you found at the mall last weekend. I listen to vacation plans and dance recital and the new patio set you’re thinking about getting.
And I’m happy for you.
Should I tell you I’ve moved? That I’m a guest in my sister’s home, that driving back into town takes me almost an hour now?
My life feels like storm clouds to your sunrise…and I pause too long. We smile at each other. And for one briefest moment I glimpse a look in your eyes, an almost plea for authenticity…but the server is at our elbows with the checks and we’re smiling our way to the parking lot.
And as I drive away I think about the conversation we could have had.