Her words are sticky and melting together, another drawn out story. I blink, slowly, with both eyes, an obvious sign of wanting to leave. She's oblivious to my blinking and the taste drains from my coffee. My mm-hmms are half-hearted and weak, you think she'd catch it by now. I think this is the fourth time I've heard this story anyway.
"So then Mel comes in and catches me kissing on Calvin and I'm like, oh shit. What now? You know Mel and that temper, so he grabs the lamp. You know the one my Ma bought at that yard-sale and claims it's from Nordys? And I stand up, and I'm like, go on asshole. Throw it. I'm sick of your lame jealous-ass anyways. You gonna hurt him for what you drove me to? And he's all like, 'You know I love you baby. Let me love you.' And I'm like, 'Ah, hell no.' This is like the third time we've been through this, ya know? And I know I deserve better than that. Shit, I know he's been sleeping with that secretary hoe from the office. I ain't dumb. Calvin's a real man anyways..."
I re-adjust my legs on the unforgiving vinyl of our familiar booth. Pulling my skin in all opposite directions, ripples of resentment shoot from my thighs up my spinal cord to the base of my head. I am not a pain person. Too much caffeine and a distinct lack of oxygen under the haze of thick cigarette smoke are my elements of torture presently. The pounding is subtle, rhythmic in my skull. If I borrowed her spoon, I could jam with my headache across my knees. I pull a sugar packet from the holder on my right, open it and let it's dirty contents slide down my throat. I glance around the diner, still nodding an understanding nod, half-expecting my mother to scold me about the sugar.
"Val? Val! Are you even paying attention anymore?"
I turn to her, "Of course. Calvin. Go on."
I don't even know why I bother to keep in touch with her. She should pay me for sessions like this. I should be working on my term papers, trying to scrounge up Cs in my classes so I won't have to forfeit my scholarship. I wonder how long I can look her in the eye while suppressing the urge to just punch her in the face. I know everything about her. From how her father left her when she was seven right down to the shade of Periwinkle on her toenails. I know I hate her, but I guess I'm a girl of obligations. And best friends from highschool living in the same new city should see each other every once in awhile to check up, right? I sigh, chugging back the last of my luke-warm coffee, and sinking back into the seat.
"..so I'm thinking about getting a boob job. I know Calvin would really love me then, and he'd probably help pay. Hell, 3,000 bucks for a nice rack isn?t too bad, and if Calvin leaves me I know I can snag a guy with real money then. I could work it as a trophy wife, doncha think? Hahaha. You know my Ma used to say that.. that she could be a trophy wife. Haaaahahaha."
Her laugh is one of those disgusting nasal laughs that seems to get stuck in the back of her throat and never gets fully released. She snorts when she thinks something is hilarious. I've learned to avoid good jokes around her. This laugh is her, "I'm hurting, but I'll play it off like it's funny and maybe that will subside the pain until I get back to my anti-depressants." She's on one of those water diets every-other week and yet confesses about her chocolate and cheetos binges. I hate her weaknesses, I hate her lack of strength, her dependency on false love and shallow vanity. I hate the way she plans out her life in Hollywood every night but she can't hold a minimum wage job for more that two weeks. I hate her Malibu sunset blue eyeliner and her peach fuzz kiss lipstick. I hate her tacky stick-on nails and the tiny tube dresses that ride up her ass like a hooker. I hate her #47 blond Clairol hair. I hate the way she managed to slink in-between every single one of almost-relationships in high school, and I hate her laugh.
I scanned the diner for something more entertaining to catch my interest. Sitting at the counter was a biker in full clad leather, helmet resting on the stool next to him, his head in his hands. I arched my neck back to get a better view, and realized that he was sobbing. His gloves were resting on his plate of waffles, and tears were streaming across his 5 o'clock shadow. I imagine myself getting up to console him or something, but I just sit, watching. The waitress was coming to hand him extra napkins anyways, she'd probably say something mechanical and comforting. I remember suddenly that staring is rude, and glance down quickly to study the patterns of the faux wood table.
I remember in our sophomore year, she threatened to kill herself by holding her breath. No one believed her, but she stood in the middle of the cafeteria, her cheeks puffed out and her fists clenched at her side, determined. I stood watching her from the other side of the room, leaning against a wall and trying to look concerned. She had a crowd of people around her as her cheeks turned red and she toppled onto the floor of the lunch room, passed out. Someone ran for a teacher, I walked out.
"Hey, do you remember that one time.." I start to say
She interrupts me without even blinking
"That one time? Oh yeah, that one time. No! Jesus Christ, Val, you really have to stop living in the past. It's kind of pathetic. Go find a man."
I look at her blankly. It's too ironic to even bother trying to say something back. My Mom used to always say to me that Veronica was "eccentric" and a "go-getter". That she was a keeper, because she had a heart the size of an ox and would never let me down. She never let me down because I didn't hold any expectations of her.
She tried out for cheerleading every year of highschool. She never made the first cut. Perhaps it was because they knew they would all be labeled sluts if they let a real one on the squad. Maybe they knew she would always look better than any of them in a little pleated skirt. And I'm sure they knew that should would "forget" to wear her bloomers on a regular basis. Either way, she never got a real set of pom-poms to call her own, but she memorized every cheer and would pick out their flaws in the stands.
I had to post under Eryn because for some reason theinnocent isn't listed as a possible journal to post in, although I'm listed as a member in the user info. Eh, oh well.
Okay, that's all I have for now. Feedback? Oh, feedback?