“Yes?” Coyote smiled. He was working on a photograph album at the dining room table.
“It’s just so wonderful to have friends like that! We haven’t seen each other such a long time and we just picked right back up where we left off!”
I opened the fridge and looked for something to eat.
“Which ones were those?” Coyote asked, turning around in his chair.
“You know,” I opened a plastic storage container and eyed its contents dubiously. “My old gang. Becky, Hannah, Trina. We talked all evening.”
I put the container back and opened the freezer. Coconut milk ice cream. Just the thing.
“It was like we were right back in high school having a sleepover.” I got out a spoon, opened the cupboard and shut it again. I didn’t need a bowl. “We even remembered some of the old jokes. It was so great. It makes me happy to think we still like each other and trust each other after all this time.”
I sat down opposite Coyote, who went back to his pile of photographs.
“What are you doing?” I asked, spooning out ice cream.
“Oh, I thought I should get these organized,” he said. “No one else will know the names, so I am putting the best ones in the album and labeling them.” He put little black corners on one photograph and then licked each one.
“You’re leaving some out,” I said, nodding to a pile that was off to the side.
“Choices,” he said. “But did you talk to anyone else? Dara? Tracey?”
“No,” I said, waving the spoon. “They were off with Brad and Lisa and Charlie, like they always were. I wasn’t interested in talking to them back then and I still wasn’t.”
“Oh?” Coyote said. He turned a page, which made a crinkly sound. The rest of the pages were blank and waiting to be filled. “Why not?”
“They were giving us the evil eye and not letting anyone in.” My spoon scraped the corners of the tub.
“Did you try?” Coyote asked, choosing a new photograph.
“No, of course, not. I was too busy talking to my friends and I knew it was useless anyway.” His tone made me look up. He was writing a name with a Sharpie. “What are you trying to say?”
“Nothing,” he said. He wrote a date and place name on the page. “Just you’d think after all these years…”
“I don’t need to be rejected again.” I got up and threw the empty tub into the trash.”I wouldn’t give them the pleasure.”
“But you don’t actually know,” Coyote said. He was trying to fit one more photo onto the page. “You don’t know they were giving you … what did you say? the evil eye? Maybe they were hoping you would come over and say hi.”
“Nope,” I said, filling a glass of water. “Some things never change.”
Coyote kept working, head down, silent.
“I don’t know what point you are trying to make,” I said, trying not to feel defensive. Why did he care so much about this anyway?
“Maybe it’s a good thing,” he said, “no one is asking you to help make peace in the Middle East.”
“The Middle East!” I yelped. “I’m talking about high school!”
Coyote chose a photograph from the pile that was off to the side and moved another one around to make it fit.
“That,” he said, looking at his page with satisfaction, “is only a matter of scale.”