Disclaimer: It's not mine. This is only a bit of fun. Please don't sue me… pretty please?
Do you remember last Christmas Eve? We went for a walk in the park. It was cold and we kept wondering when the snow would fall. But it didn't. We were happy that day. The way the clouds gathered… they seemed so heavy. We were sure it would snow soon. You bet it would snow by midnight. But by midnight it hadn't snowed. You bet it would snow for Christmas morning. It didn't, though. It was two weeks before the snow fell, and even then it
"Thank you for meeting me."
April settled herself a little more, unable to contain her surprise. She hadn't seen Alison since the wedding nearly six weeks ago, then out of the blue the call came that Alison wanted to see April, and could they maybe meet for dinner some time? Of course April agreed, and arrived at the proposed meeting point only a little late thanks to a late subway train.
She said as much: "The train was late…" Apologetic, helpless, endearing, as though she hadn't stood at the station wondering if (or perhaps hoping) this was a sign that the inexplicable meeting should not be.
It wasn't a comfortable place. April had spent the better part of that morning dressing up in front of the mirror, sucking in her tummy and cheeks, playing with her hair. Of course her outfit from the wedding, her one nice outfit, was out of the question. Just because she was poor didn't mean she had to look it. After hours of agony, she wore a little black dress. Nice places liked black, didn't they? She had nearly asked Mark. The dress remained on for hours, until April stopped feeling uncomfortable in it.
Had she been self-conscious she might have managed to keep the dress clean. But she had stopped considering the dress. It was five giggling, sloppy minutes outside the dry cleaners'. She still could have worn the dress, but there were a few very uncomfortable itchy rough bits, and she was sure she could smell it.
So now April sat in one of the fanciest restaurants she had ever visited, wearing a slinky black shirt with barely any shoulder straps and jeans, looking at the least neat and tidy. She'd spent the entire trip over telling herself she looked nice and Alison wouldn't care, knowing it wasn't true and trying to convince herself anyway.
April fingered the menu. "I can't really afford anything here."
"I'll pay. It's fine."
April rubbed her shoulder. Alison caught herself watching this and blushed. April had fantastic skin, smooth and thick with freckles. It seemed somehow to absorb the light. Alison looked away. "How have you been?" she asked.
"Oh, fine," she said, and a memory of sound filled her ears, of her own crying and begging. "Fine. And you? Same?" Same state… same lie?
"Mm," she said with an identical air of admitted deception. She sipped her ice water, and a drop of gathered condensation plummeted to mar her skirt, only just (and altogether too) noticeably.
Roger – I love you. I loved you. Dear Roger, there was a time when
April was only nineteen, but Alison was twenty-three and she ordered the wine, and no one objected to the two lip prints on the glass, Alison's a gentle rose and April's clear, only obfuscation, chapstick.
April had swallowed alcohol before, but previously it had been with Roger. He held her, held the bottle to her lips, he let her drink when she asked. Then he rubbed her back while she hacked and coughed up the horrible burning taste. Only once more; she asked Roger to give her another mouthful of liquor, and this time he kissed it into her mouth. She liked his kisses but she didn't like alcohol.
This was different. She lacked the safety she felt in Roger's arms, but the more scars those arms saw the less safety April felt. The wine only made her feel warm, and made her laugh a little easier.
April speared penne noodles onto her fork and brought it to her mouth. Three drops of tomato sauce dripped onto her jeans; she felt the stains settle, even as she moved to wipe them sauce off. "Oh, my god. Here." Alison dipped her napkin into her water glass and offered it to April, but April waved it away.
"No need to look like I've pissed my pants… since this will make me look perpetually like I'm on the first day of my period," she griped. Alison laughed. She had never met anyone like this. The people she knew, the people her family knew, were never so open. They didn't talk about ovulation; they made babies, not love; they did not have orgasms. And here with her now was this fantastic being who so offhandedly spoke about bodily functions—and at the dinner table, in public, no less!
Alison was in love.
She covered her mouth. "I can't believe you said that!" she cried, and gestured to the waiter for another glass of wine.
"What, why?" April asked. She lived with Maureen Johnson and Roger Davis. She'd seen boys pee in the sink; she'd heard more sex screams than she cared to recall.
"Talking about your…" Alison glanced around, then leaned close and lowered her voice. "…period."
April laughed so hard her shoulders shook and her breasts moved noticeably under her shirt. "Do you have a tampon? 'Cause I really need a tampon about now," April said, even though she did not need a tampon. She just loved the way Alison blushed and laughed. She blinked rapidly and her eyelashes stuck together and her eyes shone brightly. "Kotex, anybody?" April asked, and she thought Alison might pass out, she was laughing so powerfully hard.
Dear Roger, I cheated.
Alison and April walked together through the park. Alison was laughing. Her cheeks and nose were pink, rogue strands of hair clinging to the sticky paint on her lips. "Tell me another," she requested.
"Umm…" April thought for a moment. She wasn't aware of anything significant she said. She was just telling Alison about yesterday, when Maureen and Mark were having sex in the living room, and how now that she'd seen both she really felt that Roger had a far better butt than Mark. "Well… last week – okay, we only have one bathroom. The guys pee in the sink, but it doesn't work for girls. Well, it works for Maureen, but, Jesus, she's Maureen. Anyway, I really needed to pee…"
April hesitated for a moment while Alison reacted to this vocal acknowledgement of human urination. When Alison had calmed significantly, April continued, "Collins was showering, but I needed to pee, so…"
When Alison realized what April was saying, she clapped a hand to her mouth. "Oh my god!" she squealed. Yes, April really used the toilet while someone was in the same room, totally naked. In fact they had a short conversation.
"What, it's not like you've never seen a guy naked," April said. Off Alison's look of disbelief she said, "Not your dad or your brothers? Come on, everyone has those awkward moments," she insisted, but Alison shook her head. "Well… what about Benny?"
Alison blushed and laughed and admitted, "I'm still a virgin."
"Jesus Christ!" April howled. Six weeks married, and still a virgin. She wondered whose choice that was, and whether the rumors about Mark and Benny in college were true.
As she watched April laugh, Alison's blush deepened. It wasn't because April was laughing at her – in fact she knew it was pretty hilarious in a pathetic sort of way. It was the way April's throat moved. She tilted her head back, creating a single continuous line up to her chin. And there was again the attraction to her breasts, and to her flapping, lengthy fingers.
Alison's blush deepened while her underwear dampened. Somehow she felt this was her last chance. Somehow she felt now mattered.
Yuppies don't openly emote; yuppies aren't spontaneous.
Alison moved forward and did something…
She did what she wanted.
Alison kissed April.
Baby, we got AIDS.
The kiss filled April with warmth. She moved into it. She felt something good and pure and true. Alison's actions came from honesty and clear emotion, and it felt so good to just be with someone who loved her and wanted her.
When the kiss ended, April and Alison both stared, touched their lips and tried to overcome shock. "That was…"
"We can't," April interrupted. "Look, we're both with other people… it's not fair to Roger and Benny."
Alison nodded. "You're right." But it didn't feel fair to her and April this way.
"In another time, another place… definitely," she said, smiling. "You're really special."
The following week, April mailed a package to Alison: a bar of chocolate and a box of OB tampons, the box graffitied in Sharpie, be yourself. She left another note on the bathroom mirror for a boy who made holes in his skin and didn't feel the love seeping out. She just couldn't go back. No touch or kiss felt right after the truth and beauty of the half moment she and Alison had, of the date that wasn't a date.
Besides… she was already dying.
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