Another Language I Forgot

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It was late at night; Karen sat at the bar in The Gem. It was an old, wooden bar. The wizened barkeep polished the counter-top with a rag.

Karen nursed a mint julep. Ran sat down beside her, in a black leather bomber jacket. She ordered a whiskey on the rocks.

“It’s nice to see you Karen,” Ran said between sips, “Boy, has it been a while.”

“Yes, things have changed since you headed out to California,” Karen smiled.

“I went west, but I’m back,” Ran laughed.

“But you didn’t come back for me, did you?” Karen feigned indignation.

“Of course, I did!” Ran guffawed, “No, no, I met someone.”

“Out there?”

“No, in the Caribbean actually,” Ran admitted.

Karen put her chin in her hand, “Tell me about her.”

“Well, she’s an accountant, and she’s lived here most of her life. She likes lifting weights.”

“That’s it?” Karen frowned.

“Yes, Karen, that’s it,” Ran grinned, “We can’t all be genius authors.”

“Hmm,” Karen mused, and finished her drink.

“You’re like a mother to me you know,” Ran said, “I appreciate you looking out for me.”

“I was more than a mother to you, I hope,” Karen responded, with a sidelong look.

“She’s never going to measure up to your standards, is she?” Ran drained her drink and signaled for another.

“Accountant sounds responsible,” Karen thought aloud.

Ran considered her drink, “You wish we were still together.”

Karen also looked down, “Of course I do, Ran.”

She gave her a wan smile, “We had our time Karen.”

“Why are you meeting with me then?”

Ran looked confused, “Because I care about you? Because I haven’t been to New York in a long time?”

“You never understood me at all, did you?” Karen looked at her.

Taken aback, Ran recomposed herself and muttered, “No, maybe I did not.”

She left a twenty on the bar, to pay for her drinks, and straightening her jacket, left, walking out the door.

Karen watched her go. She turned to the bartender, “Another.”

detox

Pluto in Scorpio

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Ran appeared in the main room of Labyrinth. White strobe lights, from the dance floor, illuminated her head from behind, giving her red-orange hair the aura of a halo. Her suit was a shade of navy-blue so dark, it looked almost black. She wore a white pocket square.

Karen watched this all from her seat at the largest bar in the club, the countertop a plastic shell, lit from within, by a white light. Another woman was with Ran, but Karen didn’t see her. She only saw Ran.

She sipped her drink – a martini, made with Scotch – and watched them meet another couple: a woman in a lilac dress and a second woman in a leather jacket and a white T-shirt, with her hair pulled into a top-knot and shaved high and tight.

Who are these people you’ve fallen in with? Karen wondered, stirring her drink with a cocktail straw, They’re so unlike you. They don’t befit someone who was a best-selling author at age twenty-two.

The group moved to the other side of the room, to the hallway and lounge. Karen got up and went outside. A taxi stopped for her and she got in her ride home.

will o wisp