Junto Magazine Vol2_Issue2 - Page 45

Junto Magazine, Volume 2 Issue 2 “Yeah. Very active,” Rick echoed. Something felt off with the Edelman’s response. Both seemed to have closed off, as Rick positioned his body away from the conversation and towards the dying flames, crossing his arms as if to keep warm while Suzie became still, watch- ing with a vacant gaze the contents of her glass gloss the sides, her hand reflexively reaching into her pocket for her phone; its faint glow was obscured by the shell of her coat as it turned back on. I moved my hand up to Laura’s neck, delicately drawing a question mark against her skin, letting it linger. What’s up with this? Weird right? But Laura didn’t seem to notice, or chose not to respond, as if unfazed by this strange reaction. I was waiting for her to tell the Edelmans about how she and Dan had been childhood friends, how they grew up on the same street and went to the same schools, inseparable, until they left for college. It was Dan who had raved about Arcadia to Laura, about how moving his counseling practice to the neighborhood had been the best decision of his life. I was even waiting for her to compliment Rick and Suzie with how highly Dan spoke of them to her. But in- stead she remained quiet stretching her arm out towards Rick for him to pour her another drink. In tacit agreement, Rick picked up the bottle, pouring the contents around to Suzie, then Laura, and then him until it was emptied, forgetting the tonic altogether. All three drank in uni- son so quickly, so smoothly, as if it were nothing more than water, while I tried to follow with the more than half full origi- nal glass. Giving up a quarter of the way through, I sat back and watched, feeling perplexed as I searched for any kind of sign from Laura, hoping that she would say something reassuring or explain what and nameless, as we moved like schools of fish in and out of the subways and along the streets where the same indiffer- ence washed over each neighbor and ev- ery floor of our apartment building. Now we were living in a fish bowl, swimming in an endless circle with eyes watching and commenting on each movement. Laura moved her hand to the middle of my back and gave it a light rub. Thank God we aren’t them. “We’ll think about it,” I replied trying to mimic Laura’s warm but cautious tone. “Most of our sales are online though, and we already did commit to the trip with our friends.” The Edelmans faltered, as if they had been irrevocably thrown off balance by the rejection. Unsure of what to do, they lingered in mid-thought and then me- chanically retreated back in their seats, trying to brush it off as if nothing had happened, but by now a heavy silence had fallen over the campsite. The only sound was the shifting of ice cubes against their glasses as they took another drink. “Well that’s all right if you can’t do Memorial Day,” said Rick, the energy from his voice now changed from en- thusiastic to contemplative. “Maybe we can have you sponsor the middle school baseball or football team this year.” “Rick coaches both,” Suzie said as if we needed further explaining. (We didn’t. I—and I figured Laura too—had already assumed Edelman involvement some- how.) “You know Rick’s looking for a new assistant coach. Dan McElroy won’t be able to do it this year, and it would be a great way to get involved and meet more people.” “Dan McElroy?” I asked. “He’s the one that recommended Arcadia to us.” “Yes, yes, we know,” said Suzie. “He’s very active in the community.”