Imperfect Truth(7)By: Ava Harrison
“Were they hot?”
“Sure, why the fuck not.” I knew that very second that we would be lifelong friends. Throughout the years in college I clung to her jaded New York personality. She made feel me closer to home.
With a shake of my head, I right myself from my memories and take in my surroundings. I notice a hot pink awning with a whimsical display of dresses and accessories in the window. Grabbing Jules arm lightly, I motion to the boutique. She enters the store, and as I’m about to follow I notice a group of women—my age, beautiful, thin, and looking as if they don’t have a care in the world. They speak to each other with animation, carefree and full of ease. Their happiness is almost my undoing. When did I become so jaded that the happiness of others could break me down?
I lift my chin toward the sky, my eyes fluttering from the sun. I need a moment. I wish I could be as carefree as them. I inhale a calming breath, and as I stand here, the soft breeze tickling my arm, I realize that this is exactly what I need: a me day. I deserve one.
I enter the store and see Jules standing by a clothing rack. She looks up at me with a smile…beaming brightly until she catches the look on my face. She furrows her brows, giving her face the appearance of a tiny frown line. Even with the wrinkle, Jules is beautiful. She has shoulder-length brown hair that cascades down the nape of her neck with luscious waves, and the brownest eyes I have ever seen, eyes that could never lie, and right now they are looking into my soul.
“Okay, spill,” she blurts out while searching the size on a pair of tiny sequin shorts. I shoot her a questioning look. “Av, you know what I’m talking about. What’s going on with you and Alexandre?”
I hate keeping things from Jules, but as much as I love her, she just doesn’t understand the dynamic of my relationship with Alexandre. She doesn’t understand why I stay with a man who won’t stand up for me, who would allow his family to treat me repugnantly.
“You know, the usual,” I say.
“So basically, you speak and he doesn’t listen?”
“Yup, same old, same old.”
“I mean seriously, dude. Aren’t you sick of it?” she asks, throwing her arms in the air dramatically.
I burst out laughing. “Yeah, of course, but what am I supposed to do?” Shrugging my shoulders, I turn my attention back to the rack in front of me.
“Ava …You know what? I got nothing.” She frowns. “Men are so stupid. Don’t they know that if they break you, there’s always someone there to pick up the pieces?”
As if fate intervenes, my phone vibrates in my pocket. I open Facebook Messenger.
Ryder Matthews: Damn Amazon!
Ava Readsalot: What’s wrong???
Ryder Matthews: The usual, my preorder.
Ava Readsalot: Anything I can do to help?
As I type, I pick up a paisley printed prairie skirt and lift it up to show Jules. She shakes her head no and rolls her eyes. Guess not. My phone vibrates again in my hand.
Ryder Matthews: Post my link.
Ava Readsalot: That all?
Ryder Matthews: I can think of a few other things…
Ryder Matthews: ;)
I laugh to myself at his attempt to flirt. Why the heck not? Crossing the line sounds fun. Here goes nothing.
Ava Readsalot: Oh really…
Ryder Matthews: Yep.
Ava Readsalot: Care to elaborate?
Ryder Matthews: Nope.
Ava Readsalot: But now I’m intrigued.
Ryder Matthews: You know what they say…
Ava Readsalot: Hmm…What do they say?
Ryder Matthews: Curiosity killed the cat.
Ava Readsalot: Oh, are we talking about pussies now?
Ryder Matthews: SMH. You, Ava, are too much.
Ava Readsalot: Who me? What did I say ;-)
Ryder Matthews: You are trouble. Cute trouble, but still trouble.
Lost in thought and that delicious interaction that just took place, I don’t notice that Jules is staring at me.
“What are you laughing at over there?”
“What? Oh nothing, just a funny post on Facebook.”
“Must have been really funny. You’re beaming.”
“It was. Give me a sec.” I hold up one finger as I stare at my phone, trying to decide my next quip. As I start to type, the window indicates that Ryder is responding first.