Funeral food is like every other party food. Pinwheel sandwiches, mini-meatballs in a brown sauce, wilted salad, and an assortment of cheese and crackers. Laine plucks a cucumber from the tray. He dips it in ranch then shoves it in his mouth with an inappropriately timed sexy smile.
“Bryn hates baby carrots. She said there was something unnatural about them.”
“Toss them.” Laine points to the trash receptacle. “She’s right, they look like fat little baby fingers.” He inspects a dried out digit shaped carrot.
I pick up the tray and carry it to the trash. “This is for Bryn.” The carrots make a raucous as they spill into the bin. A few people glance my way, not for long. Too much eye contact and they’ll have to acknowledge me, speak me, console me.
Laine tosses his carrot in from a few feet away. “Bryn for the win.” He holds pose a few seconds the way Steph Curry does when he hits a three.
We return to the buffet where Frances is speaking to Bryn’s English teacher. She was an honor student so we never had classes together.
“Bryn was smart,” I tell Laine because he’s the only one here who will listen. “She had a 4.0 for, like, ever.”
I remember watching her study, wondering where all that information went. She was like a sponge, absorbing everything around her. Bryn immersed herself in life. She was always moving, always busy with practice of some kind, volunteering, studying, me. I was a project too. She tried like hell to get me involved, get me out of my shell. My spirit animal is a crab; shells are my thing.
Laine and I move to the stage on the other side of the room. A bunch of unattended kids run back and forth squealing like baby pigs. Laine knows a couple of them. They jump on him as soon as he sits down and beg for piggyback rides. He obliges. Laine is a nice guy. I like Laine. That’s probably why I fucked him.
“Are any of these yours?” It’s a joke, but you never know. “That one kind of has your eyes.” I point to the little girl clinging to his back. He gently lets her down and she runs off.
“I volunteer at an after-school program at the rec. At first, it was just something to add to my college applications, but I liked it so I stayed.”
“You really are a good guy, aren’t you?”
“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”
“I owe you an apology, for that day. For sucking you into my shit show. You didn’t deserve that.”
His shoulder leans into mine. “No apology necessary. Honestly, I could tell you and Benny weren’t gonna make it.” Laine is Benny’s best friend, he knows all about Benny’s side chicks. Maybe that’s why he did it. I wonder if Bryn knew it too.