New relationships are the best relationships. You know! Before hitting the routine phase. With Jessica falling in love every three to six months, conversations are always fun and challenging – Even as her best friend, it’s hard to keep up. That’s at least four new relationships every year. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Why? Some men are more captivating than others.

Jessica is a natural beauty, super smart. Although she prefers to downplay her academic and career accomplishments. Opting instead for a well-curated mix of demure and alluring vulnerability. Our lunch dates, drinks and dinners after a long day at the office are always a grand adventure into my girl’s life. My boyfriend hates us hanging out. He thinks she’s a bad influence, that my vicarious living may lead to me acting out. 

One Friday, after the longest software deployment of our lives, QA was still finding bugs and re-testing code at 8:00 pm. Our Fall release was a disaster, but it had to go out. By the time we left the office, it was 10:00 pm. Exhausted but not ready to go home, a bunch of us take the short walk over to the Cactus Club on Adelaide. Packed. As usual. Glorious Miles by Sobek booming. We sway. Waiting our turn for the hostess. “I’m lovin’ the DJ already.” Jessica whispers loudly in my ear.

“Hi. For five please.” I always get one or two more than we need. No one wants to put their bags on the ground.

“It’s about 40 minutes. Do you want to wait?” 

I look back at the group, flash my digits then give them a thumbs up. Everyone nods in agreement.

“Yep! We’ll wait.”

“Name and number?”

“Emma. 437.255.3675.”

“Ok. Wait in the lounge. You’ll get a text when your table is ready.” We walk into dim lights and Jojo in the Stars by Armen Miran. We push through the crowd to get seen by the bartenders. 

“Can I get a peach bellini, 6oz rosé, a GT, with diet tonic water please and a Grey Goose martini.” We stand aside, drinks in hand, shoulders rocking to Wizard of Love by Blond:ish. With the live DJ and the crowd, this place feels more like a club than a restaurant. Seeing the Wall Street types reminds me of where we are.

“How’s Stephen?”

“Emma! It’s coming to an end.” 

We’re all shocked. “Stephen’s hung in the longest,” Kamika said. We laugh and try to figure out how long it’s actually been. 

“Five months, four days, and approximately six hours.” 

“Oh my gosh, Jess. That’s a milestone for you. We need to celebrate!”

Hannah returns with another round. As raingurl by Yaeji starts to play.

“I love this song!” Kamika yells. “Let’s go clubbing. Fuck dinner.” 

“Ok, Kami. Calm down.” Hannah reminds her, “We’re still in our work clothes.” We laugh.

“Honestly guys. At first, when I would pack my bag and chill with Stephen for the weekend, it felt terrific. Now he’s put it out there that I could leave some of my stuff at his place instead of having to do the overnight bag thing. But I love my bag.”

“I think it’s sweet that he’s making room for you.” 

“Well Em, It’s called an overnight, aka getaway bag for a reason.” Jess takes a sip of her rosé and continues. “Plus, it’s starting to get boring. I go over there, we cook or order in, walk the dog, watch a movie, and he falls asleep.” We lean in to hear more. No Romance by Tirzah playing now. 

“Sometimes, he doesn’t even make it through to the end of the movie. Then he gets up in the morning, asking me how it ended, apologizing and laughing. I hate that.” 

“Maybe you should tell him what’s bothering you.” Kamika says in earnest.

My phone vibrates. “Our table’s ready.”

“Let’s finish our drinks. They can wait a few minutes for us.” Hanna sips her bellini and makes a face. ” My paper straw is getting soggy.”  

“It’s not a dick. Don’t put your mouth on it for so long,” We breakout in laughter at Jess’ comment.

“It doesn’t make sense to tell him. I’m not ready to settle into domesticity. We feel like an old married couple already. Besides. It doesn’t matter anyway …” 

“Is domesticity a word?” Kami looks at Jess. The DJ mixes Like you Talk to Me by John Splithoff

“Yes!” We retort in unison. Resting our glasses on the table nearby.  

” … It’s already ended for me. He just doesn’t know it yet – Do you guys remember Justin? He’s the new UX designer in the Front Office team?” Jessica beams.

I know that look.

As we walk to our table, Sight by Bedouin starts to play.

Feature Photo Credit: @sherri1698 via Twenty20

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