When I arrive at the bar, the girls are already there, a pitcher of margarita on the table, four glasses at the ready.
“There you are!” Maritza exclaims when she sees me. “Drinks just arrived, so you’re right on time. How are you?”
We greet each other, hugging and commenting on new haircuts and pretty manicures, and finally clink our glasses together. Jenna starts to speak after our first delicious sip.
“So, what is going on with you all? Our last hangout was…” She pauses to think, looking upwards as if our calendar is written on the ceiling.
“Sunday brunch, four, maybe five weeks ago?” finishes Maritza.
“No, it was six,” says Olivia. “I remember because it was the day after Jeremy’s birthday party, and I was so desperate to get out of the house and just left Cole to clean up. I had to run the whole party by myself – half a dozen middle school boys for a sleepover are no joke! Pizza boxes and Mountain Dew cans everywhere! So anyway, six weeks ago.”
“Six weeks is too long, ladies. We need to get our lives together so we can enjoy more margs!”
Something I can agree with! I feel like no matter what I do, there’s never enough time to get anything done. I may not be on my feet all day, but the emotional drain quickly translates to physical exhaustion.
“Cheers to that!” I say, holding my glass up high. The girls laugh, and we clink again, splashing the table.
“Oh, come on!” begins Olivia. “You’ve got plenty of time, Amelia! School’s out by 3:30 and you’re not even a teacher so it’s not like you have to bring work home with you or anything.”
My mind flits back to the folder in my backpack. Alex.
He’s gay. There are several gay students at the school. And he’s just like every one of them that have come to see me. Unsure, frustrated, scared. I talked to him the way I talk to the others. I let him know he was not alone, that things would get better, that he was loved. Of course, his parents aren’t making it easy for him, but parents seldom do. That was one reason I could never have a child – parents are the worst by nature, and I just don’t think my fragile ego could take it.
“I don’t have to grade essays or anything, but usually my day is spent meeting with students and teachers, and I don’t get the chance to do all my paperwork, so I have to bring it home with me.”
“At least you can do it with a glass of wine! Imagine trying to do it with a baby on your hip – and that’s just the beginning! Sorry to tell you, Jenna.” Olivia elbows Jenna lightly and smirks.
Jenna’s the newest mother of the group. She’s only just gone back to work after a very extended maternity leave. Her kid is in the throes of the Terrible Twos, so after a day of crunching numbers she gets to come home to a screaming toddler.
Jenna is unfazed by Olivia’s comment. She seems to be taking it all in stride, the same way Olivia and Maritza had when they became mothers – reveling in the matriarchal martyrdom of sleepless nights and dirty diapers.
“And would you believe that Ethan and I are crazy enough to try for number two?”
“Jenna! That’s amazing!” coos Olivia.
“You’re going to love having two!” says Maritza. “I mean, you’ll never sleep again, but you’ll love it!”
The three of them laugh knowingly together, as if insomnia is exclusive to the procreative, but I see a twinge in Jenna’s face, a slight struggle behind the smile. She sets down her glass and excuses herself to the restroom.
“Be back in just a sec. Order another pitcher, will you? It’s mommy’s night off!” She turns and heads to the back of the bar and as she walks away, I see her hand rise to her face, and I swear I hear a sniffle.
“Grab a pitcher of water, too,” I say as I stand up from the table. “I cannot be hungover tomorrow!” Olivia and Maritza laugh, and I make my way to the restroom. Inside I find Jenna leaning on the sink, looking into the dirty mirror.
(…to be continued…)
Series – Evanescent
January: If Something Can Go Wrong…It Will – Jonay Quintero Hernández (Spain)
February: The Planet of Pleasure – Nane Sevunts (Armine Asryan) (Armenia)
March: Evening with Jackie Chan – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
April: Vuvuzelas, Walkie-Talkies and Madiba Magic – Sarah-Leah Pimentel (South Africa)
May: Remembering – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
June: 5-4-3-2-1 – Talia Stotts (America)
July: Getting Ready for Newborns – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
August: Regrets – Kate Korneeva (Russia)
September: A Hollow Pursuit – Diana Haidar (Syria)
October: The Test – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
November: A Life Rekindled – Lauren Voaden (United Kingdom)
December: Translation Perfect – Zhang Lu (China)
Special: Catching Water III – Javier Gomez (Argentina)
Background – Context
Transadaptation Volume 2: Conceived – Childhood Transadapted, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2021)
Transadaptation Volume 1: In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Cover photo: McKinney, Texas – Tapped – Philip Armitage (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed