I'm making the same mistakes all over again, I'm sure of it. We're sitting in a bar, in Hilltop. Red retro lesbian lounge, two join from the biker bar: me, Old Friend, New Friend, and his Straight Boyfriend.
I hate Straight Boyfriend. New Friend always pays for drinks. SB talks about how NF pays for his gas, because he can't afford to fill his tank to drive to his two shifts a week at Panera Bread. Old Friend rolls her eyes. I handle the pack of cigarettes in my purse. I only smoke to have something to do with my hands, and it's probably better I play with the half-empty pack of menthols than the can of mace.
SB and OF get up and dance. New Friend leans in. Do you like sex?
I ponder. I don't know the right answer to tell him.
I mean, because I don't. I think I was raped.
I think that you can learn to have sex. For the first time, since that doesn't count if you don't want it to. And it's a good part of relationships. So I hear.
I just don't like it.
And he basically has a fiance.
Does she have a ring? I joke.
Well, yes. He frowns. On layaway. And she hates me. But I friended her on Facebook.
NF tells me the news OF already shared.
Yea, I mean, I don't know. He contacted me recently, so I figured he was single.
He nods. Yea. I feel bad.
Because.... New Friend, in his chivalry, skirts around the issue. She doesn't like me.
Well, that's fine. I don't really like me.
She has a lot of problems, though.
Well, so do I.
I can clearly see the dotted line tracks in his mind, dodging around spears and knives.
Let me put it this way. He pauses. K is anorexic.
And you.... are, well-
No, I get it.
And I think it really messed with her.
The same way it would mess with me if the guy I had been seeing for years cheated on me with, well, her. Schwarz-Erin and Licht-Erin, or I guess-the last name can be debated. The dark and light. I'm always the light, always the fucking light one. Guess I'll continue to tell them I keep cigarettes around purely to smoke. My hands are shaking.
Straight Boyfriend and Old Friend are arguing over money. New Friend and I exchange glances from across the table, winking, grimacing. I look in my lap a lot, maybe the answers are there.
New Friend drops his glass of Lambic. Splinters, shards, shreds, scattered, landing everywhere. I drive home, peeling off my bloody tights that scratch the porcelain sink and cut clear through my hands the tighter I vainly wring.