It was years ago, when he phoned from half a world away to leave her. She kept him on the line, draining his calling card in recompense. I sat with her in a gin joint, commiserating over cocktails. Cheshire cats' smiles and talking, but saying nothing.
He came back, almost a year later, all circling and slithering. Dressed in a rumple suit of hipster intellectualism and a grunge boy goatee. The scent of want was his cologne. Intention played obviously across his words and actions.
At one moment, she looked interested, and the next mortified. A mix of playing once around the dance floor and fear of almost a year before. Others made comment to the fact. On one such occasion, she got up, and disappeared into the crowd. Whether it was from mortification and discomfort, or the need for another drink, was up for debate.
I found her when she returned, and asked her if she was okay. For all the eloquence I might possess, that simple inquiry seemed to be the best. She gave me a wry smile and wink.
"It ain't no thing," she said. "Let him try. He knows I'd still rather go home alone."
I smiled right back at her. A cheshire cat's grin. Without saying a word, I told her;
"That's my girl."
Later, I saw her harmlessly making out with a friend who was always just that. Some of the others wanted there to be more to it, but why queer and complicate things? A little game to be played at the juke joint. No one gets hurt. I smirked as I disappeared into the hot shadows of an early summer night. She might have gone home alone that night, but I knew she'd be okay.