by Chris Wessells
The table stuck to her jacket, or her jacket stuck to the table. Tilting her head to look at the arm of her blue plaid wool jacket her black bangs fell from the barrette taming the dark snarls. There are only a few ways a woman leaves the house with hair like that; she has never cared about her looks, she just had such a great time she doesn't care now, or from focus without pride.
After yoga a barrette is useless. The sweat and gravity contort Jo's hair into a lump half fluffy ball. Two tables behind Ann sits a man with another man, both at least twenty years the girls senior. The man and the other man watched them walk in. As men do, they notice young women and appreciate their beauty. Had Jo noticed the man with the blue shirt, she may have paid attention to him. She appreciates maturity in personality and looks.
Someone must have once told him that blue makes his eyes more blue, or so it seems. His blue eyes lost a decade or two peering over the other man's shoulder and around Ann. He was doing his best to capture Jo's gaze. That is the difference between courting in 1970s and courting in 2012. The details of his blue blue eyes and jovial smile blur out of focus for Jo. Although Thea, or at least that is written on her name tag, focused her attention acutely on the man, 'That shirt really brings out your eyes'. She didn't notice his change when looking over for a polite response, 'Thank you.'
'So what do you think of his family?' Ann's voice increased in pitch while her hand caught Jo's hair before it touched the syrup. Jo lifting her head from an unsuccessful attempt at defining exactly what attracted her jacket to the table noticed Ann's hand holding her hair.
'Yeah, it is so gross after yoga,' flipping her hair back. Feeling the mass on her head, Jo tucked the bangs under a piece of hair still contained by the original placement of her barrette over an hour ago.
'No dork you almost put your hair in the syrup right there,' motioning to the stick drip-puddle of syrup. Jo didn't used to eat at places with run down kitchens famous for big portions and delicious food.
'Ha, ha, ha, I'm glad you were paying attention,' she laughs grinning. Blue eyes sucks in his gut for a moment until he realizes she isn't smiling at him.
'He always helps me with my jacket before we sit down. He will take my jacket and if he put's it on the other bench I know he want's to sit next to me.'
'I don't like to sit next to my husband.'
'I love sitting next to him, I just want to be close to him.'
'Well we have been married for a few years so...'
'That is how my marriage was too, but this is so different,' interrupting Ann before she could start in about her husband.
'Girl, we all say that.'
Jo is trying to be patient, but she cannot hold it in any longer. She just want's to share, 'So, he is hilarious. We were playing pool and he would pull up his pants so they were high waters and put his butt in their faces.'
'Wait, he put his butt in their faces?'
'Well, Ok the pool table is downstairs and it's tight. So you have to squeeze around people a little.'
'You are Ok with him putting his butt in someone's face?'
'Yeah it was funny. Why wouldn't I?'
'Was the other person male or female?'
'So it was a female he put his butt in her face, and what did she do?'
'She giggled then he laid across her lap.'
'Wait! He laid across her lap, put his butt in her face, and you are not mad? I would have freaked out,' crossing her arms and leaning back.
'Ha, ha, no why would I be upset? He was really drunk and playing with her face. She was laughing. We all were laughing. It was really fun.'
'That doesn't sound like fun to me. I don't like drinking.'
'I don't drink but he can do what he wants.'
'If you don't have sex with him for a while, you just tell him to quit drinking or no sex,' leaning forward with a grin and ill intent.
'I like to have sex with him, why would I do that? Then I am punishing me.'
'So he will quit drinking.'
'Hmm, I don't care if he drinks as long as he treats me ok.'
Both women lean back picking up the menu. The confusion between shared or mixed values thickened the air.
'I think I'll just have a piece of pie,' said Ann peeking over the menu.
'I'm so cold, I'll have coffee,'
Jo didn't notice Ann's stare and Ann didn't notice Jo's uncomfortable mouth movements. Jo didn't notice her uncomfortable mouth movements either kissy face right, kissy face left. Two friends after yoga, getting some coffee and pie.
The man in the blue shirt's eyes age five years in the five minutes Jo didn't look at him. The wrinkles around his eyes and mouth darken with shadows of poor hanging lighting too close and centered between the men. His friend looks over his shoulder at Jo, 'I think that waitress has a thing for you. She keeps eye ballin ya.' Looking down into his coffee to read the future in the generic diner coffee, 'Oh yeah, well she's a nice lookin woman.'
Ann dropped her menu and hit the fork hard enough it flipped on the floor. The amplification of Jo's cell phone as it buzzed during the silent pause from misunderstood intent startled Ann.
'Ha, ha! Oh my gosh, that didn't scare you?'
'After living with him, nothing scares me any more,' said Jo. Her face glowed from peering into her iPhone screen, or maybe it was the message. Her smile and blushing cheeks gnawed at Ann.
'What, what?' Jo asked with her thumbs poised over the virtual keyboard thinking of how to respond, kissy face right, kissy face left.
'What made you blush like that? You can't have a reaction like that and not share.'
'I don't think you want to know,' Jo smirked without looking up.
'Don't be silly of course I want to know.'
Jo's pause sitting on a broken vinyal seat, forearms resting on a sticky table who's fake woodgrain formica is worn from generations of busboys clearing the table may have been secrecy, or kindness to Ann. Only after seeing Ann's reaction will Jo know for sure. Offering the phone to Ann, Jo grinned a grin new to her. A grin she just developed in the past sixty days, a grin she never knew before. Ann's face became so hot from flushing she fanned her face.
'He sent you that?'
'Yeah, yeah, he did.'