Babysitting

We’re drinking coffee.
“It’s really a social drink, isn’t it?”
I agree.
“Or you can have it alone, but traditionally, I mean.”
I agree.
She’s telling me about this dream
She had
Which was disturbing for reasons unclear
“Dreams can be that way,” I say
And she looks relieved
I guess that means we’re on the same wavelength, she and I.
“I KNOW, right? And you wake up and you’re just—“
She waves her hands
“Sweating,”
I make a sympathetic face
I really should have gone for the chai, but I always get it
(Because I like it better)
But there’s still the ‘atmosphere’ here;
Really funky. Really fun.
A bit much.
“And when you think about it, nothing scary actually happened in them,
“Like this one, how there was just this,”
She polishes her glasses, “this completely empty stable,”
I interrupt, “And you were worried the horses would come back
“and they’d know you weren’t supposed to be there, yes.”
“Exactly! And they never even came back! Ha ha ha!”
The teenager at the next table has been trying to burst a pimple on his temple
On the sly
For the last three minutes. His date is answering a text and this may be his chance
At last. I notice my old friend’s friend has stopped talking (still smiling)
“Mmm,” I say, and she is off again
“It’s funny, because I actually really love horses!
“I actually tried to convince my parents to buy me one when I was a little girl
“But they said we didn’t have room,”
“Horses do need a lot of room” I say in a fair’s-fair way
(Shannon, her hostess, gets off of work when? 3:00?)
“Oh, I know that now,” She laughs
“I also tried to get them to send me to summer camp, just because I liked the concept,”
She rolls her eyes,
“I would have hated it, in retrospect, but I was so mad at them then!”
I have finished my coffee, but fein sipping from the empty paper cup, nodding.
“I actually hate camping,” She says, and, for a time, explains.
“So next time he offers, I’m just going to say ‘NO WAY, KENT!’ Period. End of discussion.”
“Okay.” Something in my tone gives me away.
“Oh! I’m sorry for rambling on like this, aww,” She pats my hand.
“So patient. How did we even start TALKING about camping? It’s just like a string of consciousness!”
God DAMN it
I can’t!—
She just!—
I spit out,
Stream.”

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One response to “Babysitting

  1. Which of them is the awful person? ;)

    A bit much. <–I can HEAR you saying this, almost-joking-but-not-quite.

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