“Over a cup of coffee or sitting on a park bench or/walking the dog, he would recall some incident/from his youth,” Stephen Dobyns, “[Over a Cup of Coffee]”
Maggie stopped to get a cup of coffee at the Zupan’s on Burnside. That’s when she saw Zinnia, standing in the produce department, picking out cantaloupe.
Zinnia had been her neighbor when she lived on 23rd, a few blocks away. Maggie turned away quickly, but not quickly enough.
“Maggie!” She heard the familiar sliding tones of Zinnia’s voice. No getting away from it now.
Maggie turned, smiled automatically. “Zinnia?”
“How are you?” Zinnia asked. “Actually, this is odd – I’ve been thinking about you. You know the old pizza parlor on Thurman? Where we used to go all the time. They’ve turned it into a brewpub now, can you believe it?”
“Really? Huh.” Maggie remembered now about how it happened. She and Kyle had been dating only a few months when she introduced Zinnia to Kyle in the hallway of their apartment building. A few weeks later Kyle had dumped her, and she saw him going out with Zinnia after that.
It still hurt. She might not have been Kyle’s type, but it still hurt. It didn’t help that Zinnia was what her mother would have called “a natural beauty,” blonde and skinny and with the kind of face that made you into a model.
“Well-” Maggie looked at her watch.
“And so I was thinking about you the other day,” Zinnia went on. “I hardly know the girl who moved in after you. What’ve you been up to?”
Zinnia held the cantaloupe before her her as if it were oracular, as if it could tell the future. Maggie hesitated.
“I really have to be going,” Maggie said.
“Listen,” Zinnia said. Her voice dropped to a distinctly conspiratorial whisper. “I have to tell someone. I’m seeing women now.” She stood back, triumphantly. Waiting for Maggie’s reply.
“Good for you,” Maggie said. So, apparently Zinnia had dumped Kyle. That was something, anyway.
“I thought you’d be interested,” Zinnia went on. “You’re still a writer, right? You could totally use me for a character.”
“I don’t think so.” Maggie looked at her watch again, though she didn’t have anything on her schedule until noon, when she was meeting with her writers group at the Powell Books downtown.
The hell with it anyway. She turned, took her coffee, and walked toward the exit.
Zinnia’s voice trailed after her – “Wait! Are you on Facebook?”