We watched the cars roll to a stop, the proceed, rolling to barely the speed limit before hitting the light that always seemed red. What would a driver expect driving passed a college campus? We sat on at a metal picnic table, chomping on juicy hamburgers, crispy french-fries, and chocolate milkshakes that completed my being in a way no other person could. She paid because I was broke and I edited her last three papers. I got our milkshakes free because the boys insisted I looked like a singer from the Sixties. Maybe I did, slightly with long blonde hair with a tiny braid on each side of my face, framing it. But the hippie look was destroyed by the tiny fairy baby-doll shirt and the tight low slung jeans and the black Docs. But my “date” was the real looker, perfectly in fashion with the perfect body with the perfectly fashionable hair. She wore them so natural that I couldn’t classify her as a sheep. As I laughed at her story, I thought, “And I tried to scare you off in those first few weeks, so that I could have a room with a California King to myself.”
We talked about friends that were in completely separate circles. She admitted being envious over my school work again. “All you have to do is read and write.” “And BS. I have to BS too.” She narrowed her eyes; I smiled. I admitted I was impressed over her school work and her work ethic. She was getting a 4.0, even with hitting parties three nights out of the week. I teased her about “losing” her laptop one night while she was drunk. It was under her desk the whole time. She told me again how I was the best roommie and “thanks for taking care of me when I’m like that.” Other than food and the place we lived at, the only thing in common we could talk about was psychology classes, though we never had one together and I was up the chain further than she would go. But the sun was shining and it was good to feel the breeze and be friends.
We watched the storm roll in over the desert. It was unexpected for this time of year, especially since there was 30 degree temperature drop from the day before. We sat in a crowded corner restaurant with chairs similar to the ones in the cafeteria from our old college, chomping on “smashed” hamburgers and herb-seasoned french fries. She sipped on water, and I drank diet soda. She had paid for lunch since I had driven a piece to visit her. Neither one of us as thin as we once were. Thank God she finally put on weight. The last several years of pictures were her as a cute tiny thing and I hugely pregnant or hugely just-pregnant. I was getting tired of making her look good. She was no longer platinum bottle-blonde but her natural brunette looked good on her. My hair was in an actual cut from an actual beautician. Her clothes were still in fashion, and my t-shirt was longer. As I listened to her, I marveled over how we could be friends still.
We talked about our lives. She told me about her job and her husband and her family. I explained the long process to divorce but also told her how things have remarkably improved. She told antidotes of her nieces and her BFF’s kids, who are the same age as my own. I regaled her with funny horror stories of my own. She confided that she wasn’t sure she wanted a kid but most days she does but they’re hard work. Yes, they’re hard work, but you can do it; you won’t lose yourself.
“You will never regret having them.”
She smiled. “But I’ll regret not.”