Friday, June 3, 2011

The Blueberry Times

"She said blueberry is the best. She said we have to get blueberry."

"Okay, okay. Should we wait for them to get here?" I asked.

"Here they come right now," Lester answered, motioning behind me to the door.

I didn't look until she was through the door and spoke.

"Lester, Ray, hi!! This is Todd." She had her hand on his back. "Todd, these are my two good friends, Lester and Ray." He shook each of our hands and smiled artificially. His teeth were as white as I expected, but his handshake was less firm and his face was less good-looking. His facial hair made him look like a kid. The goat kind.

We each ordered a slice of blueberry pie. "My dad used to take me here when I was a kid," Anna said in her annoyingly cute, excited-about-life-and-just-everything tone.

I wondered why she introduced Lester's name first.

At the table Anna said, "Lester, Ray, and I have been friends since we were kids. You would never see us apart all through middle school. I think people made fun of us." She grabbed the vase of real flowers set on the edge of the table and pressed her nose into them. "Mmmmm. I love daisies. I love this place. The blueberry pie is always amazing. Never gets old." She was talking faster than normal, as if she was more excited or more nervous.

"What happened to us?" I asked, looking at her.

Her smile dropped only the slightest. "What do you mean?"

"Why did us three stop always being together?"

Lester swooped in. "She got past her awkward stage is what happened," he said. "Remember your big hair and big glasses? As soon as ninth grade hit, you were transformed, and all of a sudden she had a line of boys wanting to talk to her."

"Oh yes, oh dear, the awkward stage!" She turned to Todd and pressed his arm. "I must show you pictures."

"I can't wait," he said, not as clearly or confidently as I imagined he would be.

"You were still loyal to us though," Lester added. "Just that you got a load of new friends."

"I was more confident in myself and ready to be sociable and branch out a little. As were you two." She smirked and tilted her head forward. "You guys made other friends as well."

"Not like you," I said.

"How about that Emma?" she responded as if I hadn't said anything at all.

I thought Lester should surely be offended at that, but instead he asked, "So Todd, what do you do?"

"I'm an event coordinator for the tutoring and creative writing center for kids downtown. And yourself?"

"I'm a graphic designer for a few different companies, mostly freelance."


"I work at PetSmart right now."


"So how did you two meet?" Lester asked.

I wanted to go use the restroom, but I was polite and pretended to listen while I thought about the similarities between David Lynch and David Cronenberg. I was the first to finish my slice of pie and told them all I had to get home.

Even though I felt like Lester wasn't on my side the entire time, he did let me go without making a big deal out of it.