Melissa has called me a few times and I haven’t had the courage to tell her what happened yet. Her boyfriend’s dad got coronavirus and they’ve been trying to help out by delivering groceries and medication. He’s recovering but I didn’t want to add to her problems.
Now, I just feel horrible. Either I’ve eaten too much junk food or I have the virus, it’s that bad. Although come to think of it, I don’t think nausea is one of the symptoms of COVID-19. It must be all the chocolate peanut butter ice cream.
My phone rings and it’s a video call from Melissa. I hit ignore. I’m still in my robe and my hair is a mess. There are empty food cartons littering the coffee table in front of me and I have some mindless reality dating show on. I wonder if the neighbors have heard me screaming at the girl on TV, warning her to not believe the lies of the handsome doctor who works for the Peace Corps. But hey, I’m not bitter. No, not me.
My phone rings again, and I check the screen. Shit, it’s Melissa again. That girl never gives up, but maybe it’ll help to talk to her. I quickly sweep the cartons into a trash bag and trade the robe for a sweatshirt. I answer on the eighth ring.
“Hey girl,” I try to be cheerful when I greet her. My buddy looks as perky as ever with her curly blonde hair springing around her face.
“Hey hey hey. Your apartment isn’t big enough for you to be eight rings from your phone at any time. Were you getting busy with someone over there?”
That’s all it takes to start the waterfall of tears flowing again. Mel is stunned.
“Kels, what’s wrong? I’ve barely talked to you since you got back from Tahiti. What happened?”
I cry harder at the mention of Tahiti.
“Oh no, Kelsey, did someone die from the virus? Is your mom okay?”
I sniffle a bit.
“No, no, no. No one’s sick. I was so stupid, Melissa. I slept with him.”
Her expression creases with confusion.
“You lost me, girl. Who did you sleep with? Take a deep breath, get a tissue and tell me everything.”
I do as she says, and seeing her face patiently waiting for my story calms me.
“I slept with Keith,” I finally mumble.
Her expression brightens.
“Hot damn, girl! Good for you! Tell me everything. I want all the details. Does he look as good naked as he does dressed? Of course he does, that’s a stupid question. Does he have any kinky fantasies? I can’t believe you’ve been home for two weeks and I’m just hearing about this now!”
I cry even harder and spill my guts.
“No, no, it’s not like that, but yes, he looks like a Greek statue naked. The sex was amazing. It started on the plane and didn’t stop.”
Melissa lets out a squeal.
“You’re part of the Mile High Club too? Holy shit! But I bet you had a bed on the private jet, didn’t you? Ron and I did it in a bathroom once during a flight to Cancun for spring break, and it sucked. There was barely any space and I swear, I couldn’t straighten my arm out afterwards. But anyways, keep going. I am so freaking jealous! Keith Commons is sooooo hot.”
I smile through my tears and try to give her vague summary, even if my heart’s breaking inside.
“He taught me to swim, Melissa. Can you believe that? I swam in the ocean, all the way to a boat that was waiting off-shore for us.”
“I’m so proud of you, girlfriend! Now we can go to the beach at Coney Island and you’ll have a great time. I’m sure the water isn’t the same crystal blue as Tahiti, but it’ll be amazing. We can get cotton candy and ice cream cones and walk on the beach.”
I make a face.
“Oh my god, I don’t even want to think about ice cream right now. I’ve eaten a half gallon of chocolate peanut butter in two days.”
“I thought you didn’t like peanut butter.”
“I don’t. Maybe that’s why I feel sick. Oh, but I almost forgot. I got you a present. Hold on.”
I run off to my room and open the suitcase that has all the things I got in Tahiti. I pull out the bag with the aquamarine earrings I bought for Melissa, but then the seahorse hair clip Keith bought me falls into my lap. I go back out, and a tear rolls down my cheek as I hold the earrings up to the camera for her to see.
“These are for you, Mel. I’ll give them to you once this stupid pandemic is over.”
But my friend doesn’t care about the earrings.
“Why are you so sad? What happened, honey? Everything you’ve told me so far sounds wonderful.”