November 5, 2003

The Obvious

E reported over dinner (excellent new Italian place on Vanderbilt) that it’s over between her and J, who has returned to a woman he had a long-term affair with years ago, under the nose of her then live-in boyfriend. E said that the former boyfriend, who is either an idiot or someone who gets off on being betrayed, once phoned his girlfriend at J’s apartment, right after she and J had had sex, to ask what she was up to. “Lying naked with J,” she said, as though joking, which in a sense she was, the joke being she wasn’t joking.

E ordered meat ravioli and I had vegetable polenta. The food was yummy and we both liked the décor, which made E think of a bed and breakfast, and me of the hull of a ship. We sat at a table for four. I noticed that you couldn’t fit two chairs under the same side of the table at the same time, that either the table was too narrow or the chairs too wide. I pointed this out to the waitress, who kept leaning over the table and tilting her head in a way that made E think she was flirting with me. I disagreed, or rather I thought that if she was flirting, which I suppose she was, she didn’t actually mean anything by it and was instead pretending to mean something, which to my mind made it different from flirting, which is all about possible, not feigned, meaning.

E said that her instant messaging program lets her know when J’s computer has been idle more than a certain number of minutes – information she uses in her speculations about whether J is talking to, emailing, or having sex with the other woman.

I suggested the obvious: delete him from the program.

She responded with the obvious: this is her only remaining connection to him.