It Would Be Better
Even Momentarily

11:59 a.m., May 13, 2012; Atlas Cafe, Second Table from the Door on the Left Near the Magazines

"You are extremely important in my life. I was thinking of you back when you were living with Jessica."

"Really? Really?!," her voice is a squeal, that of a girl who has just been told she's won a pony after wanting a pony all her years.

"Yes, really. I've been thinking about you for six months."

Their forearms are locked across the table. They stare at each other and talk and laugh, but something happened. Something went wrong.

"I don't know if I told you this, but I went to a clairvoyant. And she told me the next six months of my life were going to be really important."

She says this to him through a stuffed nose. It's not the nose of someone with a cold. She's been crying and hard. She's swiping at her nostrils with the cuff of her shirt. Her hair is short and thin and pulled into wispy pigtails touched with purple dye in messy streaks. Her eyes are ringed in violet and they're swollen and bloodshot.

He's wearing a stiff, clean cap and his beard is newly trimmed short. His eyes are not swollen or red.

He stands up suddenly but smoothly, leans over the table and kisses her hot, wet face. She gives in to it completely, over half-eaten smoked trout on a sesame bagel.

"Let's go," he tells her.

She floats from her chair. He positions her in front of him by grabbing her at the shoulders. Her posture says she'd be a puppet for him.

He leads her body out the door crowded with late morning brunch seekers. As he crosses through the door frame his gaze falls on bare shoulders, darker than hers.

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Brittany, you are such a tease. And yet I can't help but be happy for them - and for your witnessing the moment so beautifully.

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