by Grant Candies

Hold it together now, make eye contact and just pretend everything is fine. Everything is completely fine. She’s smiling now; she said something and now she’s smiling. Smile back—I have no idea what she said, but just smile back and pretend everything is fine. Say something, a joke or something, and for fuck’s sake don’t slur the words or she’ll know, and she’ll be upset, and she’ll leave. Can she smell it? No, she would have said something. Have we ordered our food yet? She’s talking again—pay attention. How was your day, she wants to know. How should I respond, truthfully? Oh, you know, got fired, went home and kept drinking. No, no. It was fine, boring, you know. Slurred the was, she has to realize I slurred the was. If she noticed, she’s not saying anything. Has she known all along? Was she waiting for me to say something about it? No, she wouldn’t do that. Would she? I can’t puke or she’ll definitely know. She’s asking if I’m okay; she looks worried. Smile at her—Jesus Christ, please don’t puke— just smile.