How about a nice greasy, pork sandwich served in a dirty ashtray?
Rosie and Tré
At noon the next day, Rosie was startled out of sleep when Tré entered the apartment. Slammingly.
“Rosie,” he said, striding angrily into the bedroom. “Wake up.”
She rolled over and looked at him. “God,” she said. “What?”
“Did you talk to your father about my pay?”
“Yeah,” said Rosie, in a sleepy, bleary, hungover voice. “You said you were out of money so I asked Daddy to pay you more. So?”
Tré took a deep breath and then, very slowly, “I need you to understand this: your father thinks I asked you to ask him for more money. Do you have any idea how embarrassing that is?”
“So,” said Rosie. “What does it matter so long as you get some extra money?”
“Oh my fucking GOD!” Tré burst out. “I didn’t get any extra money. What I got was humiliated. Do you know what it’s like to have my boss accuse me of sending in his own daughter to do MY dirty work? Look – don’t talk to your father about me again, ever. Ever! Do you understand?”
“He didn’t give you the raise?” asked Rosie indignantly.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” said Tré, exasperated and furious. ‘No, he didn’t give me the raise. Your father is paying me exactly as much as he should. I’m less than a year out of college and he’s giving me a great fucking opportunity. It’s my job to earn it. Bulstrode is doing his share. I’m doing my share. And you, Rosie, you don’t have a share. So back the fuck off. Do you understand?”
She nodded. And then said quietly, “I’m sorry.”
“Fine,” said Tré. “I have to go back to work.”
Rosie woke up and headed into the bathroom. She had a terrible taste in her mouth and felt queasy and headachy. She brushed her teeth and took a long shower. After the shower she drank a huge glass of water and took two aspirin. She wanted a greasy burger, but decided she’d calorie blasted enough last night, so instead, she ate six saltines and had more water.
She thought about what to do with her afternoon and decided to worry more about her night. She hadn’t been to the clubs in a few days and it was probably time to head back. Since it was just a few weeks before Christmas, she started thinking up ways to style herself as a sexy elf, or a sexy Christmas tree. She picked up the phone and called Will.
Why not? Tré wasn’t going to go with her.
Celia and Gio
Celia and Gio slept in, legs intertwined across the bed. She was hungover, but happy.
Will lay in a shitty mood beneath a shitty blanket in the shitty month-to-month in the shitty neighborhood he was renting. When Rosie called he accepted her invitation to come over and hang out. What the fuck else did he have to do?
Broke had been up for hours, unable to sleep through the tail end of her hangover. She wandered into the kitchen at shortly after 10:00 to find Teddy, in his ratty bathrobe, frying his own eggs and reading a book. He looked at her over his shoulder and smirked, “Maybe you should head back to bed for a while.”
“No,” said Brooke wearily. “I’m fine. I just need a little breakfast.”
“Do you want so eggs,” asked Teddy.
“Ugh, no,” she grimaced. “Just toast. I think that’s all I could handle.”
“You and Celia had quite a night last night,” said Teddy, scooping eggs out of the pan and not putting toast into the toaster.
“And Rosie and Will,” said Brooke, getting up to make her toast. “It was fun. We played this stupid game called Thumper.”
“Will?” said Teddy, stopping en route to the table.
“Yeah,” said Brooke. “He came into the March kind of late and joined us. So, what are we working on today?”
“I don’t think you should spend time with Will,” said Teddy, still standing in the middle of the kitchen, plate in hand.
“Well, Teddy,” said Brooke. “It’s not like he’s my best friend or anything. He just sat at a table with us, played a stupid drinking game and walked me home. It’s not big deal. Now let’s talk about work.”
“He’s dissolute and irresponsible and you shouldn’t be playing drinking games with him,” said Teddy firmly as he sat down.
“Whatever, Teddy,” said Brooke. “My head hurts and I really want to get to work. Can we just do that, please?”
“Look, clearly you’re hungover which is affecting your mood. I’m going to the Newberry today and I think I’d rather go alone.”
“Come on, Teddy,” said Brooke, desperate and weary. “Please don’t be mad at me. I won’t hang around Will anymore. Let’s not make a big thing out of it.”
“I’m not making a ‘thing’,” said Teddy. “I’m just doing some research and I’d prefer to be alone when I do it.”
And with that he finished his eggs, got dressed and left for the library. He did not, it is worth mentioning, wash his dirty dishes.
Across the street from the Newberry Library is a one square block park, formerly informally called Bughouse Square. In the old days, anarchists and communists and segregationists and suffragettes would stand on soapboxes and preach. They’d yell at and over each other, passionately imploring the crowds to join their disparate causes, change the world with them.
Teddy, who did not believe the world could be changed, sat quietly on a bench in Bughouse Square, sorting through his feelings.
Why, he wondered, was he so unsatisfied? Maybe he was too old for a woman in his life, especially one as young as Brooke. But still, she should have been a satisfying amanuensis. She was bright, interested in his work, confident he was on the path towards greatness. He should have been happy to have her sit next to him while he worked.
Of course, she had changed a little. It’s only natural that as a relationship progresses, the parties should begin to lose some of their previous deference and grow more relaxed and casual. He understood that Brook couldn’t always be the wide-eyed, worshipful girl he’d first met. Her sometimes sharp tongue and infrequent eye-rolls could not, alone, account for this uncomfortable dissatisfaction.
The reason for that lay just beyond his mind’s reach. And he felt miserable trying to grasp it.
I wonder if you can spare some pity for Teddy. I appreciate that this might be difficult. Here, I’ve written him as this lazy, domineering asshole who doesn’t do his own dishes. He’s either ignored or never bothered to earn the wisdom that comes with experience and struck up an insta-relationship with a woman 30 years younger than he, based solely on her agreement that people do not treat the world well. Or, if we’re being really honest, because the adulation of this beautiful young girl worked pleasingly on his already substantial ego. He’s cold, manipulative, and passive-aggressive. He is not a good man.
Ah, but his world is so narrow and bleak. And, even if it’s a world entirely of his own creation, it’s still a sad place to live in; and sadder still for his growing awareness that he will always be its sole, sad occupant. If we have joy in our lives, if we love and are loved, we can pity Teddy a little for his lonely, narrow world.
At least I do.