My Early Twenties

End of April, New York, my friend Liza picked me up for my Hardee’s morning shift, an act of deep love because I had to clock in at four thirty in the a.m. I said something about a best friend being better than a lover, and she squinted at me like it was a November afternoon when the sun slants in at that awful angle and the glare is blinding, regardless of sunglasses.

“You’re prickly,” she said. “Fight with David last night?”

We hadn’t fought but we hadn’t done anything else either. Liza reached for her ever-present coffee mug; it wasn’t there and she muttered, “Damn, where’d my mug go?” and turned around to ask her four-year-old daughter, nickname of Pixie, to ask if she had Mommy’s cup and that was all that was said about my mood, but she is a psychic, seriously, her own storefront and some A-list Broadway clients she’s protective of. And although she never says anything about what she can’t help but know, I go around knowing she knows and usually it’s not a problem because we are old friends, from Pixie’s age on, the kind of friend that’s essentially family. All to explain that we didn’t say anything, but I got out at the Hardee’s feeling like I’d already worked my shift and was dredged in butter and dusted in flour.

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