Nailing His Head: Part II
Mark planted himself next to me at the post wedding breakfast despite my best attempts to plant myself elsewhere. I focused intently on the friend Betty seated across from me, because the homicidal rage she stirred within me helped distract me from how much my desire for Mark was depressing me. I hated her. She was exactly what I needed.
She loved country music and carried on about the greatness of Montgomery Gentry, and then, upon discovering I was divorced, out of the blue brought up gaming conventions and called them Man Mall of America. When she jumped to husband shopping as though that was the way to deal with post-divorce grief, I grabbed a fork and dug it into my thigh.
Mark interrupted her, speaking with a strident urgency about an Ikea opening in Madison as though it were the most important political happening of the decade. I bit back the obvious Fight Club comments, and as he carried forth, withdrew with my cell phone.
Even talking to an imaginary person on the phone relieved the heartbreaking intensity of that much time close to Mark, especially after what amounted to being verbally attacked by a stranger for having a man and tossing him back when he proved, well, mean.
I wanted away from Mark, away from my friend’s glowing happiness, away from ambitions that started and stopped at penis-gathering, away from the endless talk about RPGs that just weren’t my bag. I was happy for my friends and in hell for myself. It was Betty’s day, and I was not going to inflict the feelings I was eating via Cheetos on her. I flipped the cell phone closed and slipped it in the pocket of my trench coat. I closed my eyes, feeling the sun and inhaling hard to gather the cold wet air of fall in Wisconsin.
I was able to take two breaths before Mark appeared at my side, intruding on my peace and yet making me ache to bring him closer.
“How are you?” he asked again.
“I already answered that this morning,” I told him. “Thanks for the coffee by the way.”
Mark exhaled, then rephrased, pushing a hand through his sandy hair. “How have you been?”
“Busy.” I saw Betty and Bob gathering their coats and their individual checks. “I think it’s time to go,” I said, and stepped away, falling into the stream of people pouring out of the Country Kitchen.
”Zee -” Mark said, but I waved my hand.
“See you at the house,” I said, cutting him off.