By Lori Cramer
Across the booth from me at the coffee shop, Gemma goes on and on about Adam as if he’s the greatest guy ever.
Adam took her to the ballgame.
Adam bought her a stuffed bear.
Adam said she looked fantastic in her favorite pink jeans.
I try to change the subject, but it’s no use. In a matter of moments, she’s back to babbling about Adam.
When I tell her I’m going to order another mocha latte and check out the baked goods, she asks me to get her one of those chunky chocolate chip cookies. Then she shakes her head and says not to bother. She’s on a diet.
I fight the urge to roll my eyes. Gemma’s like a size zero. Her being on a diet is as ridiculous as her thinking Adam’s a good guy. I’m not on a diet, so I order a slice of chocolate-raspberry cheesecake. I take my time returning to the table, preferring the sundry sounds of coffee-shop chatter to the relentless refrain of Adam, Adam, Adam.
As soon as I return to the booth, Gemma informs me that she’s just texted Adam to let him know what an amazing time she had last night. She wonders aloud how long it’ll take him to reply, lamenting that waiting is so hard.
I pop a forkful of cheesecake into my mouth to keep from saying what I’m thinking: She might as well get used to waiting to hear from him.
Gemma asks if the cheesecake is as delicious as it looks.
“Taste for yourself,” I tell her, pushing my plate in her direction.
She centers the dish in front of her and picks up my fork, ready to dig in. Then she glances at her phone. She’s not that hungry, she says. She’ll get more coffee instead.
As she’s walking away, I’m tempted to take her phone and text Adam. I want to tell him that Gemma’s much too sweet for his head games and that he should do her a favor and ghost her now instead of later, when it’ll hurt much worse.
Gemma returns with her refill. Sliding into her seat, she grabs her phone and taps the screen. She knows I would’ve told her if I’d heard a new text coming in, she explains, but what if some noisy people had walked by and drowned out the sound?
“Maybe you ought to try thinking about something other than Adam for a little while,” I gently suggest.
She would if she could, she tells me, her tone a bit brusque.
“I only want what’s best for you,” I say.
Without making eye contact, she proposes another possible motive: jealousy.
Me? Jealous? As I open my mouth to refute her accusation, a text notification sounds, sending both of us reaching for our phones.
The text is for me.