I sat in a crowded cafe,
drumming the table’s edge
over a coffee,
feeling my date stood me up.
Last month, I caught a break after
Amy tossed me a case,
I spent a week behind bars without bail
for baptizing her Jeep in Lake Erie.
In my defense, Amy’s car did need washing.
The stench of her sleeping with him
in the backseat while I drank gin
from a bottle cost me my common sense.
I dropped my gaze to my wrist
and pulled my sleeve over her name
in my tattoo.
Conceptualizing us together forever
was splendid while it lasted.
The judge allowed the removal
of my ankle monitor.
I wasn’t a criminal, not before
Amy stole my heart.
So I stood in self-defense.
The jury bought it.
I served no more days in jail
but several years in a prison
of my isolation.
I felt a shadow centering me.
My date arrived.
“What are you—?” My words seized under a brain freeze.
Amy took a seat beside me. “I made a bit of a mistake before.”
I gestured. “So you catfish me on a dating site?” I released the tension in my chest.
“You had every right to be—”
“Well, thanks for giving me permission,” I said through a hazy gaze.
“What happened to you and him?”
Amy cracked a grin. “Really?”
“I’m glad you think this is funny.”
As I pushed myself to my feet,
Amy grabbed my hand. “Hear me out.”
“It wasn’t what you think.”
“I know what I saw.”
“You saw my brother helping me rearrange the living room and the whole sex thing. Really? My brother borrowed the car and slept with his girlfriend on the river.”
“Why didn’t you tell—”
“You wouldn’t listen.” Amy shrugged. “I randomly found you on a dating site and knew you’d only listen to me in person.”
“I’m not over you.”
I lowered my chin. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m over the Jeep,” Amy said as someone who hadn’t let it go. “Seriously though, I needed a change anyway.”
“Promise me we’ll never make assumptions again.”
I nodded. “Deal.”
I stretched my neck around Amy. “Something’s on fire,” I said of the smoke billowing outside.
Amy gave me a tight-lipped grin.
I slightly shook my head. “You didn’t.”
“Oh, but I did.” She reached for my cup and took several sips. “Even?” Amy reached her free hand across the table.
I broke free from my expressionless gaze. “Deal.”
Twitter – @AC0040
(© 2023 AC)
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