|A disturbing call. Too convoluted, some kind of
psychobabble. Dorrie knew he and Jennifer were in couples therapy
together. She'd only met Stan twice, but the few times she'd seen
him perform in clubs she admired his music.
"Isn't Jennifer at home?"
"No, she's out. She's always out to me lately. Even when
she's home I can't get through."
Stan played alto sax and clarinet and innovated global boogie
on found instruments like strands of seashells, and coffee pots,
and ploughshares from his uncle's farm. He was an intense red-
faced burly man Dorrie found hard to talk to. He didn't listen,
he only riffed. If she and Jennifer hadn't been getting chummier
in the last six months, maybe she would have hung up right away.
For the sake of her friendship she was putting her friendship in
jeopardy. Did that make sense?
"But I do know a good place for sitting around here," Jennifer
said to Dorrie. "A coffee place near--where are we? On Broadway and
Bleecker? It's called . . . wait, wait . . . I'll think of it!" She
spun around excitedly, like a kid. Her silvery rain-cape flared.
Her voice was high and slender. So was Jennifer. She'd smoked a
joint in the studio bathroom on their way out. She didn't act like a
married woman of forty. Nobody did these days. Jennifer still
pictured herself as a bad girl, the risk-taker in whimsical
rhinestones and vintage hats, the girl she used to be, but wasn't
now. Her shadow shimmered in a puddle under a street-light.
Dorrie watched her own shadow, next to it, squashed into a puffy
nylon rain-shell, edging sideways. She looked like a crab, all
right; next to Jennifer, she looked skinny-legged and squat.
"There it is! The Résumé Cafe," cried Jennifer.
They crossed the street. The cafe was pink, warmly lit. A
waitress showed them to a tiny table wedged between four young men in
dress shirts and ties playing bridge with jackets slung over their
chairs, and a group of slouching arty types in silks who didn't seem
to be speaking to each other.
"I'm embarrassed, I don't know where to start," Jennifer said.
Like a kid, she started to cry.
The Bridge players were drinking lattes; at the other table they
"It's hard to talk when we're so hemmed in." Dorrie turned to
look behind her, protective. Maybe somebody was paying a check?
She didn't want eavesdroppers on Jennifer's confessions.