Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Chad 1.5 Day

Chad 1.5 Day!

Julie's sad tonight. She barely ate her open-faced turkey sandwich. And she's laughing a lot. Whenever she's low her laugh gets louder and more disturbing.

You have something to tell her, something she's not going to like. But every time you feel ready to broach the subject she says something else she finds funny, and that laugh bursts out with the clatter of a loose window shutter on a stormy day. You push forth.

"I'm seeing Chad again," you say.

Julie doesn't laugh. In fact, she looks as if she might start to cry into the mashed potatoes she didn't touch.

"It just happened," you say.

Julie dated Chad for six months, and six months after that you started seeing him. Julie didn't speak to you for nearly a year, which was fine because you only went out with Chad to hurt her. But when you and Chad broke up after a year and a half, you discovered you actually missed him. You craved him for months, until last night, when you held him again.

"I thought you hated him," Julie says.

"He's different now."

Julie's eyes are dull and looking at the wall. She looks crazy and medicated.

"It's like he's Chad, version 1.5," you say.

Julie doesn't respond. She looks like she didn't even hear you, which you hope is the case because you're embarrassed by the Chad 1.5 comment. It made you sound like this was all a whim of yours, and now you're worried that it could be.

"It's been over between you and him for so long," you say.

"I won't be able to be around you two," Julie will say.

You're furious with your self now. Last night, when he called and you went to his apartment you were sure that it was right. Now that Julie is withering in front of you, you think maybe you just tried to repeat that to yourself over and over to make no room in your head for second-guesses.

"If that's the way it's got to be," you say.

Julie grabs her coat and runs through the diner and out the door. Chad's probably a mistake, and if so you'll see Julie again in a year when you break up again. Assuming she doesn't hurt herself. Or leave town. (Julie has no one else in this city.)

Happy Chad 1.5 Day!