We sit outside, hoping a breeze will take over when the sun sets, but as it begins its descent, the winds become more still. The fans installed in the corners of the overhang create just enough air to keep us in our seats. We aren’t comfortable, but it will do.
“My mom is still sick.” Amanda says, wiping sweat from her neck before taking the stale ashtray from the table next to us, the memory of something enjoyed and discarded wafting toward me as it passes. Terese subtly shifts to avoid the smoke from Amanda’s cigarette. I don’t mind the fresh smell.
Lauren asks after Amanda’s mother and we all listen. We are here to appease Amanda, nothing more. She needs social interaction in ways the rest of us need the opposite. So we suppress our yawns and drink more water while we smile and chat.
“Look at them.” I tilt my head across the patio bar, hoping Amanda catches on. She doesn’t, so I watch alone. A man is trying to fuck the woman he’s talking to, leaning into her as they laugh. Jealousy stings me. He isn’t hot, but he has the aura of a good lay. She’s not interested, and as the night progresses he leaves alone. It’s a shame he didn’t meet me.
It’s Thursday, there aren’t many people here. We should sit inside, where it’s cooler and more crowded, but the breeze keeps teasing. I hope they don’t move; I can see the oak trees from here.
Yawns no longer suppressed, Amanda asks for the check and they all rise to leave. One by one, they hug and walk away, headed home to their families. Amanda sits with me a moment longer and I hold hope we might talk but she’s silent, watching the same oaks I remember.
Then she turns to me, and part of her knows I’m here. I try my hardest to become visible, to send even the chill of death her way until she senses me. There are tears in her eyes.
“I miss you so much.” She says as the tears fall. But she leaves too and I sit alone until the bar closes.