It was supposed to be a simple reunion -
two old friends quietly taking solace in the infrequent luxury of being richly understood
kindred spirits content to walk about in the candor of daytime shadows
How was I to know he would pour his heart out to Laila the night I introduced them?
He's in love with you! she laughed with wide eyes. Like... madly in love.
She gripped the railing and spoke to her left hand.
Maybe next time I should leave it at home.
I glanced at her ring finger, but said nothing. I already knew she was bothered.
As we poured out of the dance club, sultry on sexual overtone, we politely declined offers for an extended evening. Beyond steamy smoke and mirrors, I assured ambitious amateurs that our phone numbers would do them no good.
A few steps away, Laila was exposed under the jaundiced glow of a street lamp. The multifaceted cut so carefully selected for her would glimmer under even the grimiest bulb.
Man, don't waste your time. She's married.
The corners of her smile fell a little.
Anyone could see this was new to her.
Her long copper hair is sprawled across the pillow and she breathes slowly, nullifying our morning agenda. Today is her birthday, though, so I don't wake her up.
We spent Saturday night marching up and down Chestnut Street in heels, avoiding the sewer grates and hugging our bodies until we had imbibed enough canned heat to feel warm from the inside. Swirling inside a dark and crowded little dance club, Laila and I sweated out the alcohol with a mixture of house and hip hop, surreptitiously slipping between men, and occasionally breaking for a burst of cool night air. Outside, we made small talk with the door man and patronized all of the boys wearing glasses without prescription lenses. (Most of these boys were also in plaid.) Coquettish banter with almost everyone waiting in line meant that no one was a stranger when we plunged back into the cacophony of the crowd.
The city is alive and we are fresh with the freedom of interlopers.