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When my girlfriend, Katrina, returned from lunch with her ex-boyfriend - the one she dated throughout high school - I was sitting at the kitchen table in her parents' house. They had gone to the movies, effectively abandoning me with my insecurities. Dylan, the ex, came in first, forced a smile when he saw me, and walked into the kitchen. Katrina followed. They'd been gone exactly sixty-two minutes, forty-five seconds.

The introductions ended with my shaking his hand. It went poorly: My palm was sweaty and he held on too long. Katrina excused herself to the rest room, then, and Dylan and I stared at each other, motionless.

"Lunch okay?" I said, just to say something.

"Yeah. Fine." He looked around, as if remembering.

"You at State?" I said. "Yeah."

"What's your major?" "Finance." "Oh."

"You?" I wasn't about to say I was a drama major.

"Didn't go to college," I said. "Spent the last two years studying abroad."

"What'd you study?"

"Martial arts. Best Tae Kwon Do master in all of Asia."

"Cool." The grandfather clock in the living room chimed loudly.

"Any plans to see her again?" "Nah. Not really."

"Probably best," I said, nodding. "Put a finger on her and I'll rip out your spleen."

"Got it."

"Everybody making nice?" When she came over to me, Kat's hands still smelled of Vanilla soap.

"Everybody's fine," I said and looked at Dylan.

"Everybody's fine," Dylan said, but his eyelid was twitching rather noticeably.

Story by:

Dan Tricarico

submitted at 1:20am

7 December 2010

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