Liza had been trying to ignore the disappearing sun for the past forty-five minutes. This was one of those days that you wished you could live in forever. She didn’t want it to end and she didn’t want it ruined by an encounter with Laura at home. Bruce didn’t mentioned that he had anywhere to be. She realized that she had no idea where he lived except that it was near Adams Square. Did he live in a condo? An apartment? One of those big old historic houses? Did he live alone? Not knowing the answers to these questions agitated her.
“Do you want a cigarette?” asked Bruce.
Liza looked at him, a little taken aback. Was she that transparent? “It’s ok. I can wait,” she said. It was true. She didn’t feel the urge to smoke.
“Are you sure? It’s a nice night. I’ll come out with you. Do you have a few more minutes or…do you need to get home to the owner of the art project in your car?”
Casey’s art project. She had given it to Liza back when she had still been able to attend school. “Sure. I mean, no. Well…” She thought of her niece stuck at home all day with Laura, sick and barely able to get around on her own. She should get home. Laura was likely to be having another party, or to have gone out and left her daughter to fend for herself. Liza looked at Bruce. Casey was Laura’s responsibility, not hers. “Let’s go outside. I have time. The little girl who made the art project is my niece, not my daughter.”
Liza hesitated. Don’t go into detail. Keep it light. “Laura is my sister. Casey is her daughter. She’s eight. She made the project.”
They walked outside and hopped up on a short brick wall in front of Liza’s car. She turned her face up and closing her eyes for a minute. When she opened them again Bruce was looking at her.
“Where’d you go? What were you thinking about?” asked Bruce softly.
“Eh, nothing. I was just thinking about…” Casey. “Stuff.”
“You know, if you ever change your mind about that long story, I’d still be happy to listen. I get the feeling that there is a problem or issue there. I may not be able to help, but you can always talk to me.”
Liza’s eyes began to fill up. Maybe Bruce couldn’t see them in the darkness. She was angry at herself and turned her head as if she was looking up the street. They were getting ready to overflow. Dammit! A long arm wrapped around her. Bruce slid closer. He put his other hand on the side of her head and gently laid it on his shoulder. She felt calm almost immediately. He rubbed her back. She wrapped her arms around his waist. “You too,” she whispered.
“Me too, what?”
“Your long story. You can always talk to me too.” said Liza. Several flickered across his face, but she couldn’t identify them in the fading light. He kissed her forehead and continued rubbing her back. Liza felt happy and free, in a way that she hadn’t since she was a kid. At some point, she fell asleep. When she woke up the moon was shining and the street lights were twinkling around them.