“I will not stop harping on this. I told you I didn’t want the escargot, but you got it anyway.”

“Yeah and I ate it. You didn’t have any of it. So what’s the problem?”

“Of course I didn’t have any of it. It’s disgusting. They’re fucking snails, what’s wrong with you?” Sara leaned over at her waist to level her eyes with Avi. She waved her index finger in her face. Her left hand held tight on her hip and her long blond hair spilled out of her neat bun and hung over her glasses. 

“I like them. I wanted them. I ordered them so I could eat them.” Avi stabbed her finger into her breast bone with each “I.” 

They fought outside of Le Chapeau, their favorite neighborhood restaurant. It was cute and small and felt like a small cafe tucked down an unknown street in a Paris suburb. The place was decorated with brightly colored clay planters. The bar was tiny and tucked into the corner, eaten out of the wall. They both knew the staff well, considered them good friends. They had ended their dinner in silence with an aperitif and a slice of cake. Avi had called a car and walked outside. Sara had followed after and started screaming. Avi had accused her of being drunk.

Sara stood up and threw her hands in the air. She dramatically turned around and scoffed. “It’s the principle of the thing, Avi. I don’t want to eat my meal with those things on the table. They’re god damned aliens or something. They creep me out.” She turned around and pointed her finger. “And you know they creep me out. You know that.”

“Well, you know I like them.” Avi put her hands on her hips and shrugged her shoulders. “What am I supposed to do? Never eat them again?”

“I never said never. You can eat them whenever you want. You can come here and order them whenever you want. God knows I don’t stop you from going places without me.”

“What does that mean?” 

“It means where did you go last week. It means who were you with last week.”

“I told you.” Avi looked up to the sky and sighed loudly.” I told you a thousand times. I went out with Jessica. She broke up with Bobby and wanted to talk. I told you that already.”

A car pulled up next to curb outside the restaurant. The windows open letting in the cool summer night air. A man stuck his head over the passenger side seat and waved bashfully. “Here for Avi.” He said inflecting the end of the sentence up in a question.

“I talked to Jessica, she said she hasn’t seen you in a month,” Sara said quietly but forcefully. She walked around to the driver’s side back door and got in. Avi stood motionless for a moment looking down the dark street. She chewed her lower lip and looked at the street light two blocks away. It flickered in the night, once, twice, three times in quick succession. It turned back on for a moment and then flickered off again. It didn’t turn back on. She looked at the car, absentmindedly brushed at her pressed shirt, and opened the car door. 

“Alright … were headed tooooo McLean. Looks like we will be there in seven or eight minutes.” The driver spoke to no one in particular. 

Sara looked out the side window at the neighborhood passing by. Her left elbow rested on the open window and her right elbow pressed into her lap, her right leg crossed over the other. She shoved herself as close to the door as possible. 

Avi sat still and quiet and stared straight ahead. She watched the lights of the apartment buildings rush by the windshield. They began at a point way off down the road and widened as the car drove through. After the car passed they condensed back into a point behind them. She sat with her right hand in her lap and her left-hand palm down on the seat. Her fingers spread wide. After a moment, she inched her hand towards Sara. Sara turned her whole body towards the window more. 

“Annnnd here we are. Have a nice night.” The driver looked up through the windshield at their apartment building.

Sara and Avi both get out of the car. Avi thanked the driver and Sara ran around the car and up the steps to the front door. Avi slowly walked up the steps behind her. Sara slammed the door in Avi’s face. Avi opened it and took her shoes off and put them on the shoe caddy. She slipped her house shoes on and walked slowly to the couch and sat down. She sat staring out into the darkness of the apartment. Sara walked into the room and stood in the doorway. 

“I … I um I wasn’t with Jessica.”

“I know.”

“I was with someone,” Avi cleared her throat. “With someone else.”

“I know.”

“I’m sorry. I just. It’s just. I’m just … having a hard time,” She said and looked up at Sara. Her eyes shone in the darkness, sparkled from the street light outside. 

“I know.”

“I love you. I do. I really do love you, but I have a hard time dealing with this. You love me. I feel it and I see it, but I don’t get it. I don’t love myself but you love me. So in my stupid head, I start to question your judgment. Like how could someone as great as you love someone as awful as me, you know? There must be something wrong with you then. Intellectually, I know this is stupid. I know this is wrong. I. I. I. I know it’s idiotic. But It’s what my brain is telling me. So I went out last week. I went out and ended up at Red Star Bar and picked up this guy. He sucked. He was awful. He was a total bro. We played pool for a while and then started to make out at the table. We left and I. I. I. went home with him. I did. I went home with him. And I’m sorry. I hated myself when I did it. I hated myself after I did it. I hated myself as I put my clothes on and left in the middle of the night and walked home to you asleep on the couch. But I did it.” Avi spoke quietly and quickly in a monotone. Her voice came out in spurts, sometimes sticking on single syllables sometimes spouting out long sentences in a single breath. When she finished she looked up at Sara in the darkness. They stayed like that for a long time.

Sara stepped out of the doorway and sat next to Avi. She put her left hand on her back and rubbed small circles. She put her right hand on her knee and looked into Avi’s eyes.

“I know.”

July 17, 2020 02:32

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