Part Two: Talking

Though I was expecting him to leave—and not a small part of me wanted him to—my spirits rose a bit when I saw him still sitting there. But, whatever happiness I felt was quickly extinguished when I read the expression on his face. It hurt me to no end when I saw only undisguised pity painted on his features. “I thought Greg was calling you. Aren’t you going to him?”

“You came here to talk, didn’t you?” Terrence summoned a waiter to refill his cup. “But you keep on talking without saying anything,” he said pointedly. “How are things with you?”

My mind ground to a screeching halt. In the twelve years we had spent not talking to each other, so many things had happened, and yet my mind was drawing a blank. “Okay, I guess,” I began. “Karen’s mom died sometime back, her family’s coping well now, but they’re having financial problems, but I think that’s normal and—”

“I wasn’t asking about Karen,” Terrence cut in. “I asked about you.”

I considered waving my arm and calling on Greg to get Terrence away from me, but I couldn’t find the will. I wanted this conversation as much as I couldn’t bring myself to make it progress. Even though Terrence was regarding me as one would regard a three-year-old who couldn’t tell left from right, I knew what I needed to be saying. I was just too big of a wimp. “Well,” I suppressed a sigh of frustration. “My boyfriend, Max, and I are thinking of getting married.” He looked somewhat mystified by the thought of someone like me managing to snag a member of the male species, but at least he was listening. “Max’s salary is pretty good and together, we have a pretty stable income. Max is thinking of going back to school to take up computer science. He’s already scouting for a good school with a good curriculum.” I stopped again when I noticed that I didn’t have a captive audience.

Terrence was becoming a bit annoyed. “I didn’t ask about Max, Alice,” he snapped. “I didn’t ask about Chloe or Karen or any of our other friends. I’m asking about you. Or is this really the reason you decided to sit with me: to feed me random facts that I’d forget before the night comes to a close?”

Why did I sit with Terrence, anyway? Why did I want to talk to him? I bit my lip and tasted the lipstick I had applied on a whim. Why did I do that? I never wear make up. “No, that’s not it. It’s okay. It’s nothing. I’m sorry for wasting your time.” I said this so quickly and softly, that I doubt he understood a word. My cup was empty and I gathered my things, getting ready to stand up and leave.

“You’re getting engaged. Don’t you want to tie up loose ends?” it was almost as if he knew what had been going on in my head for the past twelve years. He had hit the oldest and sorest spot in the gigantic sore spot of my insecurity with regards to relationships.

I slipped the strap of my bag over my shoulder. “High school happened so long ago. The loose ends I want to tie up are so far back in the past, that I couldn’t reach them anymore.”

Like in the movies, Greg and Terrence’s other friends came up to our table at that red-letter moment, interrupting our conversation. Along with my momentum went my courage and my resolve so I hastily mumbled my excuses and left to search for a corner to mope and angst in.

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