So there was Heather in my living room, twirling to the music, barefoot, a ballet skirt pulled on over her jeans. As things progressed she seemed to literally get higher, flightier, more frantically graceful, a buzzing Ariel with magic in every motion. Heather had always danced at parties, but she used to do it with eyes shut, in her own world, ignoring her audience, a strangely private performance in the middle of a crowded room. But now she danced with eyes wide open, coy and flirtatious, aware of every spectator.
Katie, on the other hand, only seemed to get lower the longer the party lasted, red faced and belligerent, a clumsy Caliban, drinking steadily, her forehead creased with her own thoughts as she stared into space, eyes half-lidded. Eventually she pulled herself up and lurched down the hall, to get sick in the bathroom I supposed.
After a while I realized that she hadn’t come back and followed her. When I heard her voice I couldn’t figure out who she was talking to, but then I saw the phone cord running under the closed door of the bedroom. It wasn’t hard to figure out who was on the other end and I swayed there, wondering what to do.
Hey, a voice came from behind me and I turned to see Heather, flushed and glowing, slightly out of breath, her ballet skirt crinkling as she got closer.
, I said as Katie’s querulous voice rose in anger and then collapsed again in sobs and endearments.
, Heather said. Katie told me, you know. About you guys.
I shrugged, glaring at the door. I guess there’s not that much to tell, is there?
No, I guess not.
She laughed as we listened to the one sided, bare intelligible conversation. You know those two, Charlie. They’ll never break up and they’ll never stay together.
That’s supposed to make me feel better?
Come on, so it’s not happening right now. You should just enjoy it when you can. It sounds like you two have been having a pretty good time since I’ve been gone.
Well, I’m not having a very good time tonight.
Hey, what about me? I’m here. Aren’t you glad to see me?
And it was true, at that moment, looking at Heather, it didn’t seem to matter so much to me anymore that Katie was talking to Bill in my bedroom. You know I am. You wouldn’t believe how I’ve been sitting here waiting the last few days… I paused, not entirely trusting my inebriated self. I mean, I’ve been meaning to tell you how, uh, great it is that you’re back.
Good. Now you’ve told me. She laughed again, taking my arm. Come on, let’s get out of here. Let’s go for a walk.
Yeah, a walk. There must be someplace to walk around here.
Yeah, I mean, sure…
Katie’s voice rose up again as we started back down the hall.