“Well I hate to break it to you, but opinions can’t be facts.”
Angie was standing with her arms crossed over her chest, staring out over the river. The sun was just beginning to set and the sky was a mix of colors. She softened her gaze and let her eyes go out of focus and for a minute everything around her was a blur. The sound of birds singing in the trees around her and squirrels rustling around in the grass made her feel a bit like Snow White, like if she threw her arms open, the whole of nature might respond to her call, affirming her suspicion that she was, in fact, a Disney princess. As the big orange orb slowly slid down the horizon, Angie kept her arms crossed tightly. “Life is not a fairy tale”, she mumbled to herself.
Her best friend Callie was sitting on a park bench a few feet away, using her middle finger to stir her Vanilla Chai Whatever-the-Hell from the uber pretentious coffee place around the corner. To Angie, it smelled like marshmallows and burning leather. She wondered why anyone would wait in line twenty minutes and then pay $15 for a marshmallow tire-tread flavored psuedo-coffee. She smirked, but kept that thought to herself, and continued their conversation:
“Not him. His opinions are facts. They are not up for debate or discussion. You don’t know him, Cal. He gives his opinions freely and forcefully and it’s like, I don’t know, like he’s issuing an edict. And he’s so worldly and he knows a lot about things I don’t know anything about… I just…”
Callie shook her head and held her coffee drink out at arms length, afraid to spill it on her new red mary jane shoes. “Honey, you are the smartest person I know. You talk about string theory and European history over hors d’oeuvres like someone else talks about a Kardashian’s Instagram story.”
Angie smiled. She knew her friend was being generous, and she loved her for it.
“It isn’t that he makes me feel stupid. It’s more like when he speaks, he speaks with the authority of the gods or something. Like, Clint has spoken!” She gestured with her arms and furrowed her brow to emphasize her point. “He hides things that way, under that authority. He says something is best for me, or for him, or for the book, or for the neighbor’s llama, and I just nod in agreement because the way he says it is so… convincing. He gives the last word and people just follow his orders.”
Angie walked a few feet to the left and sat on the bench. She sighed, still giving most of her attention to the cotton candy clouds that lingered in front of them. “What would be worse: Waiting for the film to come out to watch and see if your big scenes were cut, or never seeing the film because you couldn’t stand the thought of some other actress taking your part?”
“Yeah, I’ll take Option Z – they all sound terrible.”
“Thanks, that’s helpful, Cal” Angie laughed. “I’m serious, though. My heart is so fragile.”
“YOU? Puh-leese! Your heart is made of steel! Not stone, because you are so kind and sweet, but definitely steel. You are unbreakable. I know Navy SEALS who wish they had the bold, brave, lion heart that sits inside your chest!” Callie let out an enormous laugh. She laughed with such force and for so long that it made Angie feel a little self-conscious. She blushed but remained silent. It wasn’t worth explaining.
Normally she’d agree with Callie. Angie had been through a lot in her life and for better or worse, she had always pulled through. Her grandfather had called it “gumption”, and she had it in spades, it was true.
When it came to Clint, though, it hadn’t been as easy to just keep on surviving. He mattered to her. She wanted to matter to him, too. She loved and hated him simultaneously, this weak spot in her otherwise impenetrable armor.
“Maybe it’s best if I just leave it alone,” she said, looking down at her shoes and the gravel beneath them, her cheeks hot and flushed.
Angie lingered on the bench a few moments more, her thoughts on Clint and the complexities of their friendship. It had never been easy, that’s for sure. She hoped that meant it was worth it. She kicked herself for hoping at all.
“So what are you going to do?” The distance of Callie’s voice startled Angie and she looked up, realizing her friend was some twenty paces away, throwing her burnt tread treat into a green metal trash bin.
“I guess I’m going to call him and ask,” Angie called back, rising to follow her down the park path and back to the parking lot – back to the constant buzz of the big city and all it’s complexities and designer coffee drinks.
“That’s what you do when you want the answer to something, right? You ask the question.”