He looked back and said: “Well, you should do something about that.”
I just might, she thought, looking down at her cup and listening to his footsteps as he walked away.
He was late. This was odd. He was never late for meetings. But then again people change. Maybe he had changed his mind. Or was lying in a hospital bed. Maybe he- she ordered her second cup of coffee and vowed to leave after finishing it. She noticed her chipped nail polish. She hated chipped nails. A remnant of having worked for a magazine some years ago. She tapped her fingers rhythmically against the table while staring at the chair he would soon occupy opposite her. She was about to grab her phone from her handbag when he arrived. He was wearing a two-piece navy suit with a white shirt. He had cut his shoulder-long dreadlocks and was now bald. He was…well…corporate. Funny how life changes us.
He sat down. No greeting. No hug. He looked at his watch. “Do you need to be somewhere?” she asked.
“Are you lying?”
Her coffee arrived. Right on time, she mumbled.
“Would like to order anything?” the waitron asked him.
“No, no thanks.”
“You’re not gonna order anything? Not even a glass of water?” The waitron winced. He hastily ordered a beer.
She grabbed two sachets of white sugar, poured them into her cup and stirred. She then grabbed the milk and poured it into her cup while stirring. “So how have you been?” she began.
“Cut the crap will you? You have until I finish my beer to state your case.”
“You are so full of shit. You wait 8 years to call me and then you can’t even aPOLOGISE?!” He almost punched the table with his fist. She sank further into her seat. Her hands were cradling her cup. His chest was heaving.
“What do you want, bun?”
“You still call me bun.” she said, almost smiling.
“Habit. What do you want?”
“To make amends. Look, T. I fucked up. Badly. I know it took me-” The waitron placed his beer on the table and left.
“I know it took me this long to tell you. To ask to speak to you…”
He gulped down his beer but held it in his hand instead of placing it on the table. There was something soothing about the cold feeling on his right hand. They looked at each other. She watched him drink his beer and he watched her cradle her cup.
“I called you-”
“Let me finish…I called you. I went to your place. Over. And. Over. And you kept ignoring me. You fucked up and I chased you trying to fix something that YOU DESTROYED. I…!” He leaned back into his chair.
“I know. Look. Please, I just…I miss my friend.” Her voice was cracking as she held back her tears.
“You need to move the fuck on. Fake it till you make it, if you must. This beer’s on you.” He got up quickly, almost knocking his chair over.
“I have stage fright,” she said…