My roommate wanders into the kitchen just in time to see the pancake tower collapse.
Well, “collapse” might be a bit strong. I like the word “collapse” for its dramatic value, the implication that something significant has happened, but in reality, the pile just sort of slumps over on the plate. I let out a resigned sign.
She eyes the mess covering the kitchen counter and purses her lips like she’s doubting I’ll clean it up. “What are you doing?”
“Experimenting,” I say, pulling out a chair for her, which she sits in reluctantly. “I’ve got four new pancake flavors—black cherry, caramel macchiato, almond coconut, and—”
“He didn’t call back, did he?”
I turn back to the stove to avoid that pitying look I hate so much. “No.”
There’s a brief silence. I stare at the bottle of almond extract on the counter.
“Do those two years just mean nothing to him?” The words burst out as suddenly and unexpectedly as the conversation that had ended it all. I address the almond extract as if it’s to blame. “I put so much effort into us. I made him a double-layer fleece quilt for Christmas! Do you know how expensive fleece is?”
My roommate shakes her head. Of course she doesn’t know. Who buys fleece anyway? Fools in love, that’s who.
I put some pancakes on a plate for her to taste, but I’m not hungry anymore. I feel like a knock-off designer purse, purchased on a grimy street corner and left to rot in a Goodwill.
“Do you regret it?” my roommate asks, sniffing dubiously at the black cherry.
I stare at the kitchen wall. The soft morning light coming in the window makes the edges of my shadow fuzzy. Or, maybe it’s just me. I’ve felt kind of fuzzy lately, as if I’m living in a dream I might wake up from. I watch my shadow for another moment as if it will somehow answer my roommate’s question, but of course it doesn’t, so I say, “I guess not.” I mean it, too. How could anyone regret two perfect years? Maybe someone with their priorities in order could, but I can’t. I’m just starting to think they were a little overpriced.