Sharing the latest flash piece that I’ve created. Flash is a great outlet for capturing emotional moments. It’s also easier for me to write in small chunks of time that I’m stealing away from preparing for a new addition to our household. Thanks to my encouraging HWG critique circle for a few nice polishes. Hope that you enjoy the story.
As the rain hits the window that faces the street, thin streams of city grime trickle down the slick surface of the pane. Pale blue painted letters proclaim, “Omelets 99 Cents.” A group of white haired women sit at the counter, their thick, nylon-encased thighs rubbing against the red pleather stools, and harrumph about how 27th Street is filling up with fancy townhouses. Across the back booth, Jennifer S. and Jennifer G. stare each other down.
“No more Doc Martens,” Jennifer S. says, raising one plucked, accusatory eyebrow.
“Not the best footwear for playgroup,” Jennifer G. replies. Her smile belies her tone. In her mind, the space across the tabletop widens.
The hands on the wall clock seem to remain fixed, the big hand on the nine, the little hand on the three. But from time to time the hands twitch, like the fingers of a corpse in rigor mortis.
“They say green tea is good for you,” Jennifer S. points to her chipped white mug, “but this stuff is nasty.”
“It’s not Captain Morgan, that’s for sure,” her friend replies.
“Well that’s kinda nasty, too, just in a different way. If we were going to knock so much back, we should have sprung for better booze back then!”
They laugh and ten years of two-line emails blow between them and dissipate like steam. Jennifer G. pushes her plate of hash browns between them so that they can share.
“Were you able to get an annulment?” Jennifer G. dabs her mouth with a napkin to hide her frown.
“Didn’t try. Nine months and thirteen days felt like twenty years. Leaving is leaving. A few weeks after I rolled into Atlanta, his lawyer sent me divorce papers, so I signed ‘em.”
“That’s too bad.”
Jennifer S. shrugs. “Not a bad guy. We were just… different. He knew I wanted to go abroad again. Then, all of a sudden, all he talked about was redoing our family room into a nursery. I married a guy with a pool table.”
“Obviously you would.”
“Obviously.” Jennifer S. crinkles the corners of her mouth. “Get me a cue, and I can still kick your ass, missy.”
Their hipster waitress wearing an exaggerated Rosie The Riveter kerchief shuffles over and halfheartedly asks if they need anything else. They shake their heads.
“Six miles a day. Two miles the week I was in Stockholm visiting my old roommates, but it snowed. Going to train for that half-marathon you have down here. You?”
Jennifer G. flushes. As her left hand twists her napkin, her three-carat diamond solitaire ring glints in the light. “No, there’s always… I went to spin class for a while… Hell, I run up and down the stairs after Zeke twenty times a day. That has to count for something.”
Jennifer S. nods. “Probably. I over-invested in sneakers at the outlets over the holidays, if you need a new pair for inspiration. Assuming that you’re still my size.”
The waitress returns with their check, and Jennifer G. slowly reaches a well-manicured hand over to grab it. Her friend says nothing and makes no move to stop her.
“I got this.”
“Cool,” Jennifer S. smiles. “Thanks.”
“So… think Houston is home now?” Jennifer G. asks.
“For a while. I never was good at jogging in place.”
They stand and walk towards the register. As Jennifer G. waits to pay, her friend hovers near the pie case. On the way out, the friends give each other one last, long look. Jennifer G. withdraws her umbrella from her Coach purse.
“Thanks. See ya,” Jennifer S. calls as she pulls the hood of her sweatshirt up and over her head. She strides off.
Raindrops spatter onto the cracked sidewalk. In their hearts, both Jennifers feel a small crest of satisfaction wash over them, sure that they have made the better choices.