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Jesus had just finished a plate of lobster risotto and he leaned back in his chair murmuring, "Damn I'm good."
And for some reason this really irritated me that night. Maybe because it was because I was really looking forward to the pork chops, or maybe it was because Jesus NEVER let me pick the restaurant, but I'd had enough.
"You're not responsible for everything," I said, putting down my fork, so angry I was unable to finish.
And Jesus smiled at me in that benevolent way of his and said, "Baby, you know I am."
"But what about free will?" I asked.
Jesus gave the condescending little laugh he reserved for when he was trying to explain something your little human brain would never understand.
"There's no such thing, but it's a nice idea, isn't it?"
It might have been the wine. It might have been because I was still a little hungry, but I was done with Jesus.
"I've had it. We have to break up."
Jesus laughed. "You don't mean that. We're meant to be."
The whole way back to my house I didn't talk. When he pulled up in my driveway Jesus took my hand in his. "Can I come in, just to talk?"
I shook him free. "I don't think so. I meant what I said."
I slammed the door when I got out of the car and Jesus rolled down the window.
"You'll be back, baby. This isn't over."
I would have screamed back, but I didn't want my neighbors to hear. I knew how they were about Jesus and I had no intention of having them spread gossip that I'd been screaming at Jesus in my front yard at 10 o'clock at night.
The night of my birthday Jesus drives past my house twice. I think about calling the cops but just decide to just go out. I don't want Jesus to see that's he's rattled me. I meet my friend P.J. at a bar called Waterbabies with an indoor waterfall and a tropical theme. We get drinks in cups shaped like tiki gods that taste like strawberry cough syrup and station ourselves next to a jukebox stocked exclusively with old surf records with lots of wah wah guitar. There is a nice-looking boy by the waterfall, tall and cute with the kind of hair that looks like it's been sculpted instead of combed. I check ... no sandals. I make flirty eyes with him for a few minutes before he comes over.
"It's my birthday" I bleat much too loudly and I realize I've had four of the cough syrupy tiki drinks.
"Can I get you another drink?"
"I think I'm drunk," I say.
"I think you're fine," P.J. says. But I can tell from the hooded look of her eyes and the way she's been singing Dusty Springfield songs that she is for all intents and purposes useless.
"My name is Buster," the cute boy says.
"What kind of name is that?"
"Don't listen to her," P.J. yells over the jukebox. "Her last boyfriend was Jesus."
Buster's face falls and he smiles weakly and squeezes my hand. "Happy Birthday. Have a nice night, ladies."
He returns to his friends on the other side of the waterfall and there is intense whispering and lots of glances in my direction.
"Why did you tell him that?" I hiss at PJ.
She shrugs and orders another round of the tiki drinks. She puts more money in the jukebox and we sing along with the Beach Boys' "Be True to Your School," but we both seem to be forgetting all the lyrics halfway through and all of a sudden it's last call.
Then what do I see in the parking lot? Jesus and his van. Shocker.
"Come on Alia, get in I'll give you a ride home."
But even drunk I know this is part of Jesus' game. Wait until I'm weak and then swoop in.
"It's OK. I'm fine. I have a ride."
"We're fine," P.J. echoes, protectively taking my elbow and narrowing her eyes at Jesus.
I spot Buster buying tacos from a food truck that's pulled into the parking lot of Waterbabies.
"Buster," I yell. "Buuuuusssster."
He turns toward me and sees Jesus standing behind me. He puts his hands up like he's being arrested.
"It's cool, dude. It's cool. I was just wishing her happy birthday."
Jesus nods at him and tries to take me by the arm and guide me toward the van.
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
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