I blame the vodka.
My sisters and I were out celebrating—oldest sister Jillian had finished her pediatric residency and gotten a job, middle sister Skylar was recently engaged and planning a fall wedding, and I’d just moved into my adorable dream house. It was only about eight o’clock but we’d consumed three dirty martinis apiece in the last hour and a half. Since we’d eaten nothing but the stuffed olives in our cocktails, we were functioning somewhere between Shhhh Don’t Tell Anyone I’m Drunk and Oops I Missed the Barstool.
We managed to get out the door on our feet, sideways with arms linked, and I’m pretty sure everyone in the place was glad to see us go, since everything was hilarious to us and our laughter had grown increasingly loud and obnoxious.
“We need Uber,” announced Jillian, breathless from giggling. Her hair was a mess—when she’d arrived at the bar it had been tucked into a pretty chignon but several rounds of arm wrestling had shaken it loose. She had spilled something on the front of her peach blouse too, right on her left nipple. It looked like she was leaking. “No way can any of us drive.”
“We need food,” I said. “Let’s walk down to O’Malley’s for a burger.”
“Good idea.” Skylar hiccuped. “Then I’ll call Sebastian to pick ush up.”
“Ush?” I elbowed her as we started walking down the sidewalk three abreast. But my tongue felt a little numb too.
“Hey, look!” Jillian stopped walking, but since we were still all connected we yanked her forward a few more steps and she stumbled. “Is that for real?” Detangling her arm from mine she pointed up to the second story of an old Victorian brick building.
I looked up and squinted at the hand-painted block-lettered sign in the window.
OPEN LATE TONIGHT!
Skylar gasped. “Let’s do it! Let’s get a psychic reading!”
“No, I’m starving.” And my bladder was suddenly at max capacity. How had I not noticed it three minutes ago? Vodka was insidious.
“Well, I want to.” She looked around for a way into the building and took off for a narrow wooden door between two storefronts.
“Sky, you’re already engaged! You don’t need to know your future. It’s Happily Ever After, The End.” I hopped from one foot to the other and tried not to think about lakes and rivers and gushing waterfalls, which were of course all I could think about.
Skylar pulled the door open and looked over her shoulder at me. “So you get the free reading. Maybe she’ll tell you whether Dan’s going to shit or get off the pot.”
“Dan and I already planned to get engaged this year. I don’t need a psychic for that.”
“You did?” Rolling her eyes, she went on, “God, you guys are so boring. OK, maybe she’ll see a tall, dark, handsome stranger on the horizon for Jillian!”
“I’m in.” Jillian made a beeline for the door and slipped through it.
Groaning, I gave up and followed her. If two of us wanted something, the third always ended up giving in. I hadn’t meant to let that slip about getting engaged. It did make things a little anti-climactic if everyone knew it was coming…nothing like Sebastian’s impromptu airplane proposal to Skylar. But then, Skylar was an impromptu kind of girl. I was more of a planner, and I sort of liked the knowing-but-not-knowing…the added anticipation of each date we went on this summer. Every time I got dressed, I’d think, Will this be what I’m wearing when I say yes?
Because of course I’d say yes—that’s how a love story ends. We’d been together for ten years with only one bad rocky patch last summer when I’d discovered a dick pic on his phone. I wasn’t snooping—it was an accident. I was looking for a shot he’d snapped at my birthday dinner, innocently scrolling through his photos, and there it was. It was definitely his junk, and I knew he hadn’t sent it to me, so I felt justified in glancing at his texts after that. Why take a picture of your dick unless you’re going to send it to someone, right? Dan is a bit self-indulgent and egotistical sometimes, but I didn’t think he’d take that photo just for kicks.
Sure enough, he’d sent it to a girl at work, amidst a whole flurry of flirty activity. When confronted with it, he’d admitted to some “minor indiscretions,” the details of which I hadn’t wanted to know. He said they didn’t sleep together, begged forgiveness, and promised to try harder, and after some thought, I forgave him and we moved on.
After all, ten years was a long time, and I hated to think we’d wasted it on each other if we weren’t going to make things work for the long haul. All relationships take work. Plus, I loved him and he loved me. We knew each other inside and out. We were comfortable together, had the same dreams for the future, had the same taste in music, sports, and takeout food. Those were important things, right? People had probably gotten married for worse reasons. Dan and I were compatible. Comfortable. Certainly not as passionate as we once were, and way less hot for each other than Skylar and Sebastian, but after ten years together, is it even possible to sustain that?