story

“If there’s one thing I’ve always spotted in a man, it’s bull.” Veronica often began her alcohol-induced tirades this way. Her friends, while often supportive, listened just enough to make the expected nods of affirmation.

“Yeah, all of ’em. You remember that one boy I had a year ago? What the hell was his name? Oh yeah… Ty’ree. Ty’ree – who did he think he was, all with that splittin’ his name in half like it was some contraction or somethin’. Stupid, stupid, stupid… all men… stupid, stupid, stupid…”

Nod, and a lazy stir of their drinks.

“I could tell he was full of bull, too, ol’ Ty’ree. Talks to me like he knows me. Sends me a text message at work, tells me he’s gonna take care of me and love me and three weeks later he’s asking me for cash like I owe it to him because he cooked me dinner once…”

Nod again. At this point one could listen to Veronica every third phrase and still ascertain what she was saying:

“Lair… Ty’ree… money… money… not-on-my-couch-you-don’t… your mama don’t like me?… waste of time, that’s what he was… I’d had better…”

Twenty minutes pass by and a brand new song blasts through the club, the bass easily shaking the rest of the audience away from the table and Veronica onto the dance floor. I don’t dance. I’m a dance virgin, I suppose you could say. Just haven’t found the right song I want to give my pride and self-esteem away to. These are precious things not given away lightly.

Veronica, however, continued to whore my listening skills.  I give in and listen, but only for ascethic reasons.  Everywhere I looked, I saw pairs.  Speakers were always in pairs: left-right, left-right, front-back, top-bottom.  Dancers were in conglomerations of pairs, lovers were in pairs.  And here I was, Veronica’s pairing.  And while she continued to accost my airspace, I couldn’t imagine my alternatives, and instead joined in the fray.

“Well, Veronica, Ty’ree just wasn’t your pairing,” I said it, but had forgotten the pair idea was just something in my head, and not common knowledge.

“What the hell are you talking about?  Have you been listening to me?  I don’t even know what you’re saying.  Pairing?”

I tried to explain, but to no avail.  Really, Veronica’s not my pairing either.  But in the end, sometimes it’s better to be the puzzle piece that doesn’t really fit except when forced in than be the piece that doesn’t connect anywhere at all.

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