04 Oct Do Not Consume if Seal is Broken
I stare across the chipped diner table at his long grease-stained digits as he spins the worn silver wedding band on it’s weathered surface. A million people before us must have eaten there from all of the indentations, scribbles, and scars left behind. I hate this place and its dingy interior speckled with truck-drivers and other patrons stealing away from their own reality but this is the only place he will come to talk. It’s a few miles away from the garage and far away from all of the fancy places that a girl wishes a man would take her to. I’m sure he chooses it on purpose as a reminder that what we have is nothing special. Correction. What we had.
“I haven’t heard from you in a while,” he mutters, refusing to shift his attention away from the ring that is now wobbling and will momentarily need to be spun again.
I stare at him staring at the ring. “And here I was thinking that you hadn’t noticed?”
“I noticed.” He states firmly and uneasily drags his gaze up to meet with mine. “You happy?”
“I care, Sabrina,” he groans as if it pains him to admit such a thing before leaning back against the cushioning of the booth. “Amy brought the kids for a visit.”
Amy is Mason’s ex-wife. They married straight out of high school like a lot of other dopes do with the expectation that their puppy love will last forever. In reality it didn’t last past baby number one but they tried to make it work and ended up with baby two, three, and for a moment we all thought there would be a baby number four. Amy got an abortion though. Did it behind Mason’s back. When he found out he flipped out, held her up against a wall by her neck with her toes just skimming the floor. The next day he came home to an empty house with a bouquet of roses in his hand. No goodbye note. No kiss off. His retaliation was silence and when a month had gone by without him even making a phone call to find out where she and the kids were she had him served with a divorce decree.
“That’s nice.” My fingers drum upon the scratchy surface of the table as his wedding band wobbles and then splutters to a stop.
“Don’t seem like you care too much. Other guy has you preoccupied?”
“Did you ask me to meet you out here for that?”
“This imaginary other guy conversation.”
“I hear he’s very real, Sabrina. You spend a lot of time with ‘em.”
I run the tip of my tongue over my teeth just under my upper lip. I’m about to say something smart-assed and stinging but the remark is paused when the marshmallow-shaped waitress, Edith, shifts our way. I shake my head in disdain and shift my eyes out of the dusty window into the parking lot as she slides a plate of homemade apple pie in front of Mason with a glimmering red can of Coca-Cola.
“Sure you don’t want to get a bite to eat?” she wheezes in my general direction and I shake my head once again. “Water?”
“Bring her a grilled cheese and a glass of milk?”
He used to make us grilled cheese sandwiches back when we started. He’d throw ‘em in the broiler all pride and smiles like he was such a man because he had tamed fire. They’d always be a bit charred because he’d get distracted and forget to take them out straight away. We’d stand in his unkempt kitchen together side by side, him in boxer briefs and me in one of his tees just barely covering my panties standing on my tip-toes on the cold floor, scraping the black off with butter knives. He promised he’d get better at making them and I would pretend that there was hope for him after he’d poured us two tall glasses of cold milk with the red label on the plastic jug.
“Why’d you never spend the night?” he asks once Edith has gone and I flinch from the thought that just maybe he had travelled with me in my head to that scene in his kitchen where we kind of made sense and had a potential to be more than buddies in bed.
“Why’d you never ask?” I shoot back and my tone is accusatory though I don’t mean for it to be.
“I didn’t think that you would,” he thumps the side of his right thumb against the table. “Would you’ve?”
“Does it matter now?”
After a beat he says no he doesn’t think that it would right now but I know that it does. I just don’t want to give him that. He never gave me an inch when we entertained whatever it was that we were doing. I’m not giving him a thing now that it’s over.
“Why didn’t we ever talk about anything? You know, all those times you came over? We never talked much.”
“You never listened much.”
“Well I’m no mind reader, Sabrina. I’m pretty sure you’d have to have opened your mouth to say something for me to hear it.”
“Mason, this has been…lackluster,” I sigh and gather my jacket that had been clumped at my side along with my purse, “but I have to get going to work.”
“You have a job now?”
“I’ve had a job the entire time…”
“Yeah, but you actually go to it now?” he chuckles and instantly I understand why Amy left him and his dreamy eyes behind. He has no substance. And for that reason I feel no sense of remorse when I rise from the booth in the shitty little diner that he knows that I hate and walk out without a note or a goodbye.