There was a red curl resting distractingly across her forehead, as I went to butter my toast. I watched as my hand reached over and brushed it back, then smiled as she impishly said, “You know that it’s only going to fall back into the same place, right?” I nodded, shrugged, and went back to my toast.
“So, I had a conversation with Shakespeare last night. He was complaining that Poe wouldn’t listen to anything but ‘emo kids and whining has-beens,’ I believe is how he put it.” The red curl, as predicted, fell back into the same place. I frowned. When we had met, Jenny’s hair had been straight and brown. Practical, without that damned curl. Now, two years later, it was neither practical, nor brown. As I gazed across the kitchen table at her, I wondered when things had changed so much between us.
“Pass the butter, please.” Automatically, I reached over and handed her the butter tray.
Looking down onto my own plate, I saw the same breakfast that I’d been having for the past year on Saturdays. Two pieces of bacon, two scrambled eggs, two pieces of toast, buttered. I gazed at Jenny, and saw that she was as intent upon her newspaper as a dog with a bone. “Of course,” I continued, “it doesn’t help that they share that apartment. I told them before moving in that they wouldn’t have enough space between the two of them, but there they were, determined to make it work. Now, Poe complains to me that his raven doesn’t like his roommate and keeps him up at night with ridiculous two-liners, and Shakespeare complains that he finds roadkill in his bed at night.” I sighed and took a bite of my eggs.
“Hand me the salt and pepper, would you dear?” I asked after tasting the too-bland eggs. Jenny’s right hand moved away from the newspaper, and, without looking, grabbed both the salt and pepper, mechanically handing them to me. I took them with a murmured “thanks,” as she made a kind of wave gesture and returned her hand to stabilize the paper.
“I asked the boys what we should do about our relationship. Poe was no help at all, of course. He asked me if you were dead, and I said no, to which he replied, ‘then what are you complaining about?’ Shakespeare said that I should write you poetry and fight to the death with someone over you. Would you like poetry?” Jenny’s brown eyes looked up from the paper and met mine, smiling a bit.
“Dear, would you mind terribly getting some OJ? I left it in the kitchen.” I shrugged, and, snagging a bit of bacon, made my way to the kitchen, grabbed the pitcher and walked back.
“Bacon’s a bit crisper than usual,” I informed her, before setting the pitcher down.
“Is it? Hmm.” She poured us both some juice, then returned to the paper.
“Maybe not poetry, then. How about a moonlit walk around the park? You used to love taking those little midnight picnics.” I took another bite of the eggs. “I miss you.” I whispered.
“Did you say something, dear?”
Henry was staring at my forehead. I could feel the look, even as intently as I was pretending to read the paper. I hated the new style, but curls were supposed to be sexy, and redheads were supposed to have more fun. I wanted to feel sexy again. And, he certainly seemed to pay more attention to my hair, so maybe he liked it. “Isteban and Johan are coming over for more Latin Salsa lessons today. I think that they’re starting to get along a bit better.” Henry frowned, I noticed out of the corner of my eye. I also noticed that he was finished buttering his toast, so now I could take my turn. “Pass the butter, please.”
Mechanically, Henry’s hand reached over and briskly shoved off the butter tray. I wondered if I’d already said something to bother him. “It doesn’t help that every time Isteban goes to tip me, he brushes his lips across my collarbone. It drives Johan crazy when he does that, which, I think, is part of the point. Of course, Johan doesn’t make things easy for Isteban, either, as he tends to try to mold me to his body when we’re dancing. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. They’re both so …pretty. In a masculine kind of way, of course.” Henry was trying his eggs now. I could have told him that they’d be too bland, but, just like every Saturday, he always had to try them before seasoning them.
“Hand me the salt and pepper, would you dear?” Henry asked, as I knew he would. Living with someone for a year and a half made you know some of their quirks, at least. My hand moved away from the newspaper, grabbed both shakers deftly, then passed them on to him. They were in the middle of the table, but he liked asking me for them. Murmuring something that might have been “thanks,” he took them and I returned to staring blankly at the paper.
“I asked the boys what we should do about our relationship. Isteban was no help, as he said that he didn’t want to talk of other men, that I should be making mad, passionate love every night, and if you didn’t want to, then he would be happy to. Johan was a bit better, although I don’t think that you’d ever write me poetry or get into a bar fight with someone to show your affections.” I looked down for my glass of juice, and noticed that I’d forgotten to bring it out. I dropped the paper I wasn’t reading anyway, and smiled sweetly at Henry.
“Dear, would you mind terribly getting some OJ? I left it in the kitchen.” He shrugged, and, snagging a bit of bacon, made his way to the kitchen, walking back with the juice a heartbeat later.
“Bacon’s a bit crisper than usual,” he muttered, before setting the pitcher down.
“Is it? Hmm.” I poured us both some juice, then hid back into the paper. “Do you remember when we used to take midnight picnics? I could tell how much you hated them, because we were up so late, but it was so romantic. Sometimes, I think to myself, that if we could just see the stars again, like we used to, that we’d be able to fix what’s wrong. I miss us.” I looked down at my hands, and heard him mutter something. “Did you say something, dear?”