Portia has a lot of teeth, Brenda thought. And she smiled as if she needed to show them all, even the molars. She looks great though, Brenda added to her silent discourse to prove to herself that she wasn’t a hater.
“Heeyy, Bren Bren. Heeyy Carmen. Glad y’all could make it.”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” Carmen added.
“Happiest of birthdays, Portia,” Brenda chimed.
“Y’all come sit next to me.”
They sat at the head of the extended table that was draped in a shiny black and gold covering. Portia introduced each person seated but Brenda never remembered names on first intro. So, she smiled and said hello to the strangers she would soon forget. She sat enduring more small talk, food, and beverages.
Her Fitbit showed 7:23 pm. She could eat and mingle and be out by 8:00 pm and maybe make the book signing by before the 8:30 end time. Shoot, she forgot she had to drop off Carmen. It was an evening event at Brew’s Coffee and Books. Sometimes the poetry slams held there lasted past 9:00 pm. Maybe she had time.
“You got somewhere to be? Somewhere more important than my birthday party.”
“No, Portia. You are truly the most important person in the world to me at this moment.”
“Ooh, the sarcasm, the shade, on such a happy occasion.”
“Don’t mind her. She’s trying to go see Martin Johnson,” Carmen drawled.
Portia laughed with her teeth.
“Ol’ Marty Mar. How is he doing? You used to love you some Martin Johnson.”
“I don’t know. Haven’t seen or spoken to him in years. He moved to New York when he got that screenwriting internship.”
“Translation, when y’all broke up,” Carmen interjected.
“There was more to our relationship than a break-up story.”
“Well, no one wants to hear it.”
“I do. And it’s my birthday.”
“I do remember it all. The highs and the lows. But, in the midst of that tumultuous relationship existed a little sphere of perfection. Sometimes, I find myself staring into that ball and imagining a future, a perfect one that exists only of the highs.”
“It’s an illusion. Get over it,” Carmen interjected.
“Maybe you should get a ride home with Portia,” Brenda snapped back.
“Fine. I will.”
“Happy Birthday,” everyone shouted as the hostess brought out the cake.
There goes those teeth again.