Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 168

like that made her happy – surprises, with only a touch of sweetness. He knew all this just as she knew he drew well into the night; that he breakfasted late on things like burgers at diners only where he could see the grill. That way what he saw was what he got. She knew he poured puddles of ketchup onto separate plates determined by what he was eating. She knew today he’d need two.

She’d already slid the saucer out from under her tea just for that purpose.

The exchange was wordless but complete.

‘So then what?’

‘So then what, what?’

He stuffed a bite into his mouth mulling over the prospects, all he thought could come of this one meeting wondering how she did it all these years, without ever being affected.

‘What now?’

He held up what felt like his life dangling it precariously over the puddles. The most innocent things, even ketchup, could be devastating in the right situation.

‘Everyone gets rejected,’ she said finally.

He knew she would be straightforward, expected it even. She was a certain kind of person, unfazed by things that inspired others to waver. She never feared disappointment, not even its possibility. She never seesawed, not even when they were on the playground. She never cowered at creepy crawly things. She had no problem with pulling hunks of hair out of a clogged sink. He knew she would be brutal in the truth as she always was. He couldn’t expect anything less from her. He only hoped she wouldn’t crush him like a spider on the