Pierre D. Pierre shrugged. “In the post office I heard it. They were
worrying about you.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You needed my guidance.”
“Oh, yeah.” She shook her head at him. But Pierre D. Pierre laughed
as if this were all in good fun. Then he said, quite seriously, “I’m very
glad you are well.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Talia was still wagging her head as she stepped outside.
“Good luck, my friend.”
“I’m not your friend,” she told him, descending the rickety steps. But
Pierre D. Pierre called after her, “Please like me on Facebook!”
The air had grown cooler. In the shaded alley at the corner, figures in
grubby coats huddled against the concrete. Talia glanced down the
street, where afternoon traffic was beginning to clog the intersection.
Beauty International was just a block or so away. On Talia’s cell phone,
there was a message from Gordie.
How are you feeling?
Talia tried to walk and type at the same time, even though she hated
when people did that.
Much better! Out walking.
She thought for a moment and added, Near your HQ.
Maybe Gordie would leave work early and come join her. He did that
sometimes. Talia looked for the little answer bubble to light up. Gordie
always answered ridiculously fast.
Every few steps, Talia looked down at the screen. She still held, within
her, the sensation of Gordie’s body against hers, his palm sliding from
her hip to her thigh.
The self-congratulatory boyfriend used to pat her ass proprietarily.
But no, she told herself, that wasn’t how Gordie saw her. And Gordie
never would have posted that clasped-hands photo on Facebook.
Her friend Camilla had insisted the photo must be an innocent statement of love—that Talia was the one viewing their entwined fingers in
terms of light and dark. But Camilla had no way of ever understanding.
Gordie wasn’t like that. Gordie sent deadpan texts that made her
laugh out loud. At night he scratched the wall in a light, ruffling way to
wish her sweet dreams.
Talia’s phone buzzed. It was Carla at the VFW.