Today, Over Coffee

Today, over coffee, we discuss our failures.

“I left the door unlocked the day all our stuff got stolen,” Joanne says. She sips black coffee, and nibbles a cookie that I will probably finish for her.

I nod to her confession because I already knew. She was always leaving the door unlocked before then, and the day we came home from the park and I noticed it was open as we approached, I knew my admonitions had come true. Moments later I felt her body tense through her hand that I was holding and I knew she’d noticed it, too.

“I knew it was a bad idea to go to Chelsea’s apartment right after work, with no one else there. I was so angry at you for knowing my weakness without me giving into it, and I wanted to prove you wrong,” I say without looking at her. She knows these things, and I am trying to prove her hypothesis that I am a coward, wrong. I will never learn, and she will never leave me. We are doomed, but these people walking on the sidewalk next to our table wouldn’t know it just by glimpsing us sipping coffee, eating a snickerdoodle, scratching our faces during the pauses in conversation.

“I always call my sister when I have complaints about you. I should talk to you instead.”

That explains why she doesn’t like me, I don’t say.

“I never applied to those job listings you emailed me. I stared at them a long time, tweaked some punctuation on my resume, but I never hit submit.” Your disappointment in my laziness is familiar; I am afraid of adjusting to your disappointment in my failure, I omit.

She looks at me and dusts crumbs from her lap. It is a look violent with omission, and I feel less alone in my secret society of inner thoughts. She is an asset undervalued, and I fear that she is beginning to know this.

She holds out the last bite of cookie, which I – lacking appetite – wave away.

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