Zora’s Friend

“You’ll come for the weekend?”

He collapsed the newspaper onto a plate specked with bits of egg and bacon and crumbs from burned toast. “Oh, God, Perry, this again? You know I don’t like those people.”

“My friends,” she corrected, “They’re my friends. Jeanie and Red and Bundy and Zora—”

“Oh, she’s the worst of all of them. ‘Zora’. The woman’s name is Wendy. Wendy. But that’s too ‘bourgeois’ for her, so she picked a new name off the side of a carnival wagon.”

“She did no such thing.”

“I have work.” He raised the paper, shook it out, snapped it tight, found his place.

She sipped her tea, glared at the wall of newsprint. “You used to like them. You used to like our weekends. You used to come out at night and close bars with me and dance in the street and make too much noise. You used to pick up the check without making everyone feel bad.”

“Listen…” He put down the paper, neatly this time.

“You used to let me come before you did. You used to—”


“—be a boyfriend. Then I let you become a husband, and now you’re just a big fucking drag.”