“What, uh,” Fat’s gaze sweeps from the dessert box in my hand to my waterlogged shorts, “what’s going on, Boss?”
My sandals squeak from the moisture as I wander past the good doctor and put the cake in the fridge. “Co-worker’s birthday tomorrow,” I tap on the appliance door in the direction of the cake on the other side.
“And the drippy nether region?”
“Your words paint an unappetizing picture, you know that?”
Tiny fangs show with Fat’s prideful smile, “It’s a gift.” Her shoulders lift in an innocent shrug.
“The wet shorts are from an unintentional enema at the water park while chasing around Bestie’s kid.”
Fat’s lungs release boisterous laughter. “Classic.”
“The only purpose I serve is to be your jester, Fat.”
My dry compliment has the effect of a triple highball on a cheap drunk.
“Time for a quick session?”
I waddle into the living room and flop on the couch, sandals on. “Sure, what the hell?”
Her green eyes bulge with astonishment. She scuttles after me and jumps on the coffee table. Her phony spectacles are conveniently on the table beside her and she fumbles in her race to log more time in her fake shrink book. “Wet shorts and shoes on the couch?”
I lift my index finger high into the air as though making a grand declaration. “My house, my rules.”
“Very well.” Fat adjusts her glasses so they perch just perfectly across her tiny nose. “It would seem you had a lovely afternoon outside.”
“Absolutely.” I take a quick assessment of my freckled skin. “Not a burn or anything.”
Fat stares at my face, which now also blossoms with tiny freckles across the nose and forehead. “You might want to think about a sunhat if aging gracefully is still your plan. A forty-year-old woman like you needs to take all the precautions she can.”
My face contorts into its best impression of a question mark. “I’m not even thirty…”
“That’s what I said, Boss. Do try to keep up.” Fat clips her words; the sharpness makes me doubt if I heard her correctly. She wastes no time on what may or may not have been said and sets right in on her imaginary work. “Now then, you were at the park with Bestie and her offspring.”
I smile and remember the almost-two-year-old saying ‘sexy’ over and over again because it made me laugh. Kids, they’ll repeat everything.
“Jonah, yeah. I love that kid.”
There is an almost unnoticeable twitch of Fat’s ears as they pick up on something.
“This is your godson, right?”
My declaration finger points again, this time at the porky cat, an inch and a half from her spectacled face. “That is correct, Doc.”
“You given any more thought to having your own wee ones?”
“Sure. I’d love to have a kid or two.”
“Liar!” She shouts over my answer and surprise registers as her expectation shatters. Frankly, I don’t blame her; I usually pretend that kids aren’t something I ever want just to avoid conversations about the path to parenthood. Actually, I’m a little surprised at my own honesty. I scratch my forehead. Fake therapy sessions really aren’t the place to talk about deep-seeded truths. I don’t really know what happened. I look at Fat, hoping she’ll bust out with one of her character-building quips, but clearly I’ve just made both of us uncomfortable.
Fat’s jaw drops and she stares, dumbfounded, while she keeps trying to process what she suspected all along. “Boss,” her green eyes hold disbelief, “did you just open up to me? Was that a moment?”
Both of my hands press hard over my heart as though my sincerity was the equivalent of pulling a pin and I’m bracing myself for an explosion of feelings.
Silence surrounds us. My aorta doesn’t become shrapnel. My cardiovascular system remains intact. I think we’re both astounded. With caution, I lower my hands down to the comforting cushion of the couch.
“Yes, Fat. I think maybe we did.”
“Think it’s time to call this one?”
I nod with exuberance. “I don’t think either of us know how to proceed from what just happened.” This honesty country, it’s a strange place.
Fat bats the plastic glasses off her face. “That was a solid three-minute session. I’m okay with that. Keep your uterus in check until we’re both equipped to have a sincere discussion. Okay, Boss? There are some dust motes I was planning to watch in the bedroom, so…I’m going to…do…that.”