After Lucydecided to have an abortion, she also decided to go away.
Will sat cross-legged at an odd little West End party, and listened to her plans.
The hostess, decked in electric blue stockings, was proffering joints from a Louis Vuitton purse (“Is it real?” everyone feigned to wonder) and her girlfriend, clad only in tissue paper, made the rounds with a silver tray of cupcakes.
“You can’t leave me,” cooed Will to Lucy. “You’re my only straight friend. If you leave, it’s hopeless. My skin will go rainbow.”
“You’ll be fine, grasshopper,” and she pulled out two cigarettes from a pack of 100s.
Will waved it away. “No, I shouldn’t. Neither should you-oh Jesus, sorry.”
“I didn’t have the abortion, you know.” She took out her lighter and wouldn’t continue until she had the thing going. “Nature sort of took care of itself.”
Will bit his lip. “How do you mean?”
“I was at the doctor, actually. My stomach was hurting, I went to the doctor.” She rose and Will followed her through the crush of the crowd toward an open kitchen window. Lucy shouted something over her shoulder.
“I said, it just came out.” When she repeated it her face stayed cool as marble, her hand moving rhythmically with the smoke.
“Came out? Give me one of those. It can just come out?”
“I tried…” But Lucy’s face crumpled and she leaned out the window a moment to catch her breath. A grimace had taken over her face when she reappeared. “I tried to flush it, you know, it’s so stupid. I just-but-it wouldn’t go down.”
“I had to go get someone at the desk. I think I need a drink.”
Will made his way to the fridge and fished out two Coronas. “So that’s why Mexico?”
“That’s why Mexico. It was what I wanted, anyway, wasn’t it?”
“Ryan’s flying away too, I heard. I’ll be left here, fucking around in Van.”
“It did look a little like a person.”
“I’m gonna be completely alone in fourth year out at UBC.”
Lucy had finished her cigarette and, casting it out the window, adopted big sister mode. “You won’t be all alone. You’ve got your lovely new boyfriend who knows how to make crêpe suzette.”
“True. There’s him. But you guys know everything about me.”
“I guess we might all stay put and be talking props in the Will Gray Show, then?”
Lucy took a quick swig and let some laughter out like water from a tap. “I’m gonna miss you, you little douche bag.”
“Miss you, too,” said Will. “Gimme another cigarette.”
The evening wore on. Bottles lined the window sill and ashtrays overflowed. The door flapped like a turnstile as people came, laughed, and left. Kisses, kisses, for every goodbye.
When Will lost Lucy in the crowd, he retreated into the building’s hallway and ducked out on the fire escape. He dialed the boyfriend’s number the way he dialed his own and waited until the machine picked up. “Hi. It’s me. Just wondering what you were up to. Hey-“
Stepping silently from the shadows, Ryan had materialized beneath a great fly-speckled light. His head was cocked carefully to one side and his eyebrows (dyed a shocking red) arched above his fluttering lids until the glossy lips intoned a “halloo stranger.”
Will flipped the cell shut and filled with regret at being an absentee friend for months.
“How’ve you been?” It came out the way he thought sincerity should sound but Ryan balked a moment at the false effect.
“Well, you know, now school’s out I’m off to Korea. Can you believe they’re letting me into Asia? It’s really too much. I think I shall wear chopsticks in my hair. They have this program and I can teach English. I always knew I would end up in education.”
A wave of melancholy blindsided Will. He stared past Ryan, then directly at him. “Everyone’s leaving.”
“I know,” Ryan sipped at the vodka in his travel mug and added, “It pisses me off. You just get to know a fag in this town and he fucking flies.”
Ryan didn’t seem to make the connection between those he accused and his own imminent disappearance. “You aren’t leaving the party?”
“Yeah, I’m heading home.”
“Let’s do breakfast at the café. Your treat.”
With a drunken “awwww” Lucy erupted onto the fire escape before Will could make his exit. “Oh, you’re leaving? Bastard fuckwit!”
“Oh! Love, love!” shouted Ryan, pulling Will back for a moment. So they hugged in a three-way embrace and bonked heads painfully in the centre. Will never did know how to hug; when he broke away, it was always too early.
And when he made his way down the steps to the sidewalk, he didn’t look back until Lucy and Ryan were already moving back indoors. He could still hear them, laughing about some new joke like it was the only joke in the world.