Roxie's Little White Lie

How much truth do you owe someone who you're dating non-exclusively?

21 November 2007

The leaves crunched under their boots as Roxie and Noelle approached Graciela’s house.

“What did you bring?” Noelle asked.

“Just some wine. I didn’t know what else to bring. What about you?”

“I stopped at Whole Foods for some Bulgarian feta cheese,” she said, holding up a canvas tote bag.

“You are obsessed with that stuff.”

“So what? It’s good.”

“Huh,” Roxie said, ringing the door bell. “Tell that to your arteries.”

A dog’s barking erupted behind the door, followed by the soft shuffle of footsteps. The door opened to reveal Concepcion, Graciela’s grandmother, with Socrates, the dog, at her side.

Hola chicas,” she said, “Adelante. Come in.” Concepcion stepped aside to let the girls enter the house. The air in the house was warm and smelled like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and something else…Concepcion’s homemade pan de queso, with the cheese baked into the center.

“I’m drooling already,” Roxie said, bending to scratch the dog behind the ear.

“Can’t they lock up that mutt for just one day?” Noelle grumbled.

“Be nice,” Roxie said, giving the dog a kiss on the snout. “Why are you such a dog hater?”

Noelle said nothing. Graciela dashed into the room, wearing a dress covered with a frilly white apron. Noelle and Roxie exchanged glances.

“Hey you! Happy Thanksgiving!” Graciela cried, giving each of the girls a hug without using her stuffing-covered hands. “What’s that?” She asked Noelle.

“Bulgarian feta cheese.”

“You’re obsessed with that stuff,” Graciela said, taking the bag from her. Roxie handed Graciela the bottle of wine, which she opened and poured a glass for each of them.

“Is Kyoko coming?” Roxie asked. Graciela shook her head.

“Her boss is having everyone in her firm over for dinner. And Allison went home to be with her family. So it’s just you, me, Rickey, my parents, my abuela and…”

“Who?” Roxie asked, already dreading the answer.

“Javier,” Graciela said in a low voice. Roxie turned away. She hadn’t seen Javier since before the disastrous Halloween party, when she drunkenly slept with that idiot she knew from college…that night, Javier left several messages on her cell phone, and Roxie, terrified of the ugly confrontation she was sure was in store for her, never called Javier back. Now it had been three weeks and Graciela had put her place card next to Javier’s on the table. Roxie sipped her wine and noshed nervously as she waited for the inevitable.

When Javier arrived, he pulled Roxie aside so they could talk in private. The blood drained from Roxie’s face. Here it comes, Roxie thought.

“Did I do something to upset you?” Javier asked.

“What?” Roxie asked, stunned.

“I called you three weeks ago. You never called me back. I thought maybe I did something to make you mad.”

“Oh, no…” Roxie said, unsure of what she should say next. Should I tell him what happened? ‘Javier, that night I got totally trashed and slept with some guy I can’t stand?’ We’re barely even dating, so it’s not like I was cheating. We’re not exclusive. Do I really owe him that much of an explanation?

“I’ve just been really stressed at work and I forgot to call you back. I’m sorry.” Roxie felt dizzy. She needed to eat soon, before the wine got to her.

“Oh,” Javier said, smiling. “No, that’s ok. I understand. But…can I call you again sometime? Maybe we can catch a movie later?”

“Yeah, ok,” Roxie said. She felt relieved as she took her place at the table, but all through Concepcion’s prayer of thanks, Roxie couldn’t help but wonder whether her omission would come back to bite her in the ass.

Writen by: Elizabeth Sowden

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