We are sitting in this restaurant that the band’s manager pulled strings to get us into for brunch. It is the loudest gourmet restaurant I have ever been to and I am just watching the fish in the tank while everyone talks about last night. I think about the beach and I think about Jake and how I’m not allowed to like him anymore. So I let myself hate him. I sip at my lemonade made from organic local lemons, with sugar dusting the top of the glass and some kind of leaves stuck in it. What does local mean in NY City? Is there some kind of rooftop garden nearby?
I drink my lemonade and marvel at my new contempt for Jake. I’m almost proud of myself. I look at Chris. He looks happier than he has ever been. It seems like he hasn’t stopped smiling since last night. We haven’t talked about our problems, we have just been acting like we are on vacation together…like this NY trip has been planned for months. Dave isn’t talking to me. But that is the only weirdness. The other guys seem to have forgotten I almost ruined this show for them. But Dave is always mad at me anyway…so it’s not that weird.
Our table is white, the walls are white. Our plates are mismatched, antique china, like at Luna’s house. I always knew she was unintentionally ultrafashionable. I smile as I imagine her rolling her eyes when I relay this to her. All I can hear is the din, and the fishes seem to float about the tank in slow motion. I think about Zoe’s Nemo DVD, and if these fish here would all like to be rescued and sent back to Australia, or if they liked their tiny world, looking out to their predators.
My mind floats to Jake’s text. I have been thinking about it all morning and I know I could use it to get back at him. I could tell him, “yes, he can come to the beach and have his 24 hours”. Then I would be left with a few choices. My first choice, the best picture in my head so far, was to just be there, waiting for him, then to tell him what I thought of him. That I was done with his games and his requests and texts. I would have the power, not him. He would, for once, be left hanging. The picture in my head is glorious. Him left on the beach alone with his smugness. I know I can never be with him, but oh to carve a hole in his heart that will never go away…one only I could fill.
That is why I think there is something wrong with me. I have always been told I am a compassionate person. I have been accused of being kind to a fault, empathetic, and the word I always hear…”sweet”. But what I want to do to Jake is none of these.
I sip at my lemonade and look at the whiteness of the table. I take out my phone and hold it under the table. I remember his number and text the words, “Sunrise to sunrise, Friday to Saturday – Odette.”
I put it away feeling relieved that I am going to see him again, and I wonder if that is what I am supposed to be feeling. Probably not. I flicker my eyes up to Chris who is laughing at one of Astrid’s stories. He looks over at me and seems worried for a second. I smile at him and his face relaxes again and he starts telling Dave what he just heard from Astrid. I look down at my phone as it buzzes and I read Jake’s words, “see you then”.
I shake my head, this is premeditated, this is playing games…taking things to a completely different level. I didn’t have to do this. I could just text Jake back right now and be a normal human being and tell him to forget it. But my hands put my phone away in my purse. Then my food comes and there is nothing else I can do but eat the fish on my plate while the ones in the tank float about in front of me, in slow motion.