Service was wonderful, as usual, and afterward Robert offered to walk my sister and me home. We were chatting casually when I heard my name being called from across the street. I looked over and it was Jeremy, he was exiting a cafe with a some friends. He waved them on and made his way across the street. I know he lives in the neighborhood, but of all the people for us to run into, why Jeremy?
“Hey Denise, I didn’t know you were in town this weekend,” he asked, giving my sister a hug. Then he turned to me. “Hey.”
My heart skipped a beat, “Hey, Jeremy– this is Robert.”
“Hey man,” Jeremy said shaking Roberts hand. We kept walking and Jeremy fell into step with us. I could not believe this was happening. “So do you two know each other from work or something?” Jeremy asked, rudely.
“Yup,” I could have killed him. His apartment wasn’t even in the direction we were going… this was crazy. I was trying to think of something to say when Jeremy chimed in with:
“Denise, did your sister tell you we had a hot date last week and she stood me up? We were supposed to have dinner.”
I could not believe it, Jeremy had asked to meet me for dinner and when I said I would be an hour late because of work, he claimed he was too tired and hungry to wait for me. But here he was making it sound like… like… it was something else completely. My face was hot, I didn’t want to over react in front of Robert, so I just said nothing.
“CeCe left me, sitting at the restaurant with a bowl of chips and guacamole– it was horrible…”
“Oh my gosh, Jeremy– You are so fired! That’s not what happened and you know it.” I said with a forced smile and left it at that. Fighting with Jeremy in front of Robert was not a good look.
“I’m fired, huh?” Jeremy said jokingly.
Then Robert chimed in, “Well if you’re firing people, that must mean your company has openings now, right?”
“Whoa! Listen dude,” Jeremy interrupted “Let me tell you about working for Celeste. You put in a lot of effort and you get a minimal return.”
It was said as a joke, so we all laughed. But the weight of that statement was so heavy I wanted to crawl into a hole and hide until the moment was over. Finally we reached a major intersection where it was appropriate to part ways. Jeremy took off with a hand shake for Robert, a hug for Denise and an (unwelcome) kiss on the cheek for me. Robert thanked me for letting him come to church with me and quickly ran down into the subway station.
I stood on the street looking at Denise. Before I could speak she read my mind when she said:
“That… was a lot.”