Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dealing The Cards


He dipped his hand into the holy water font and made the Sign of The Cross. He pulled his cap from his pocket, pulled open the church doors, walked out into the dawning sun, and pulled the cap over his head.

“Mark!”

He heard his name; he turned around to see her smile.

“Merry Christmas!” Maggie slid her arm between his elbow and his side and pulled him into a hug.

“Merry Christmas!” he echoed.

“How are you?”

“I'm doing pretty well. How about you?”

“I'm frazzled! I've been so busy!” she laughed. “Are you having a nice Christmas?”

“Yes.” He pulled his keys from his pocket. They started to walk toward their cars.

“This is the first year I didn't get a Christmas card from you!” She feigned a pout. “I can't believe you didn't mail any this year.”

“I did mail them. I just didn't send one to you.” His foot slipped on a spot of snow as they crossed the street.

Maggie stopped her steps; Mark stepped to the sidewalk.

“Okay, well I didn't get one from you either.” His voice rode his emotions; his shoes pitched on the snow patches.

“But I'm awful at things like that! You know that!” Her giggle was forced; her feelings freely flowed. “Why didn't you send me a card?”

“Oh shit,” he exhaled. “Look. Why do we have to pretend we're more than we are? It's okay. We're friendly but we're not friends. I'm okay with that.”

She pulled her purse strap up her shoulder and crossed her arms over her chest. “We were more than friends.” Her voice was a steady stream.

“Yeah.” He put his hands into his pockets and pulled out his gloves. “But we're not anymore. And we're not friends anymore. But I'm okay with that. It's all good.”

“Why aren't we friends anymore?” Her flattened face whispered her words.

“Okay.” He took a step forward. “I don't want to have this conversation.”

“I do.”

“Okay. Fine. Well, you knew I was in the hospital. Right?”

“Yes.”

“Did you call me? Did you come visit me? Send me a card? See if I needed help? I mean, what's your idea of friendship?”

“Well, you're always sick!”

“Yeah, lately I have been.” He pushed his hands into his pockets. “Okay, fair enough. So why are you hurt we're not friends? I'm not hurt we aren't.”

“Why do you always make me feel so guilty? I had things on my mind.”

“Well you don't have to do any of it. It's okay. But there's no way you can say we're friends.”

“God you're mean!”

“No. No I'm not. I'm just not a liar. You asked me; I answered. I didn't ask you. And I'm not mad about it. So what? We have friends. It's all good. Let it go.”

“Is it any wonder you're alone!”

“No. I don't wonder about it at all.” He turned his back and walked to his car.