IMPLICATIONS - dresden de vera

I imagine her sitting across the fast food booth, pausing from picking at her fries while I nonchalantly mention the unexpected stresses of seeing multiple women. "Really should start keeping note cards," I’d say, "Before I get their hobbies mixed up."
I’ve drawn out the look on her face as she sees the latest picture I’d posted - with a woman whose shoulder melds into mine in front of a fake Christmas tree.

I see us sitting on the curb of her house, her asking about my work, what I’ve been up to, who I’ve been hanging out with. And I trace the trail of her questions past her lips, down her throat, back into her lungs, then collapse the walls by muttering a foreign name.

When she approaches with a text of "Happy New Year!", I unwrap the gift as such: Yes, I still matter; Yes, she’s the weaker of us; Yes, I’m in control.

And only now am I prepared to reply with nothing.

Dresden de Vera
The Best American Short Stories 1994
Tobias Wolff & Katrina Kenison