Today was Marguerite’s 37th birthday. She celebrated it alone at the Friar Rose cafe as she’d done each of the last six years. Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” was playing over the speakers when she paid for her almond latte and blueberry muffin. It was fitting, bittersweet to hear her first love’s young adult anthem at that moment. It was ten years ago to the day, New Year’s Eve, that Marguerite had asked Catalina to marry her at the cafe — Catalina said no.
The law was on their side, their families were supportive, their friends ecstatic, but Catalina had never been one for meeting externally suggested expectations. If Marguerite had waited one more day, Catalina would have proposed. This contrary characteristic initially attracted Marguerite to her. Catalina’s family thought she would go to university and study chemistry; instead, Catalina went to university and majored in comparative religion.
Marguerite spent most of her life surrounded by unwavering rule-followers no matter the irrationality of the rules. Catalina was a blast of fresh air and water in comparison. Over time, though, the insistence on going her own way turned into an unwillingness to empathize, to take one for the duo, and just irrational as the followers of old.
Marguerite drank from the mug of latte as she acknowledged fully to herself that Catalina’s refusal was probably for the better. At that very instant, a customer approached her and asked if he could join her for a few minutes.
“It won’t be long, and I realize this is strange,” the man began. “But, do you see those people over there trying not to look obvious with their cameras and phones?”
Marguerite nodded and realized why this man had asked to sit with her. “You’re Patterson Chen…your fans want to know if it was you in that car the police found in the ravine and you still won’t confirm or deny.”
Marguerite told him he could stay as long as he wished, confessing that she was more of a hockey and college football kind of gal so she wouldn’t be making small talk about America’s national pastime. Patterson didn’t mind at all, he rather liked sitting quietly with someone who didn’t want anything from him.