Sometimes a story grabs you and won’t let go. That’s how it’s been for me with The Letter, first published under the title A NON-WINNING STORY. Here’s what might have happened next.
“I wasn’t spying.” I took a sip from the darkest of the craft beer samples.
I managed not to spit it out, but it was a close one. This beer was cloying sweet like the stuff frat boys make in buckets. Why would a brewpub serve a blend of root beer and stout?
Kelly took a sip of her own murky sample. “Good, hunh?” She finished it and raised the glass toward a waiter.
“So, this letter? You believe him?” Kelly raised her eyebrows.
“Well, I want to…”
“No. That’s not what I asked. Do you believe him?” She stared into my eyes and squeezed my hand.
“But we’ve been together for three years. I think this is just one of those times when we…”
“No, Adrienne.” Kelly grabbed my hand and squeezed. “This isn’t about ‘we.’ Do you believe that bullshit?”
I pointed at the only glass of beer that I had finished when the waiter asked us if we wanted another round.
“Genius,” said Mark.
“Hunh,” said Scott. He jiggled the ice in his scotch.
Alex grinned. “I don’t know about genius, but it worked.”
“Why not just tell her…” Scott set down his glass.
“The truth?” Alex squinted at the dartboard. His dart just missed the bull’s eye.
“Yeah, the truth. Why drag it out?” Scott retrieved the darts from the board.
“Because he can’t handle the shit storm,” Mark’s dart missed the board. He laughed.
“What shit storm?”
“The shit storm when my mother finds out that I’ve wasted three years on someone who’s not our kind.” Alex’s dart flew to the bull’s eye.
We closed the bar. I’d lost count of the rounds that the cute guy behind the bar sent us.
Fucking Alex. Always has some big story to cover his ass.
What gets to me is that she always believes him. Like this time, she is standing there holding the evidence in her hand, he lies straight to her face, and she says okay.
I’ve been there. More times than I want to remember. I’ve been the one agreeing to whatever pathetic story someone gave me. Then I’d go crazy trying to figure out what was wrong with me that I couldn’t trust my soul mate. And then I’d find out it was because he was a fucking liar.
Well, I don’t do that anymore. No one should.