Little Things
Ashley Inguanta

Two depressed women sit at a café drinking icy blue drinks. The drinks are in small, clear glasses. It's sunny outside. The restaurant is as neat as peach pie.

Woman A knows she is depressed. She listens to sad country music and cries in public. Woman B wouldn't be caught dead crying in public. She is a professor at The State College, spends her days grading papers, lesson planning. She has no time to think, to wallow.

Woman A does not work. She is too depressed.

Yesterday, her depression hit a low. It happened like this:

Woman A walks into Kinkos. She goes to print a large photograph of a polar bear passed out on a glacier, overhears some conversation: A short woman wearing a Christmas sweater shouts "Vertical!" The Christmas-sweater woman is showing one of the Kinkos people a square photograph of a sailboat.  "Vertical!" the sweater-woman says. "You did not make the copy vertical!"

Woman A takes a sip of her icy blue drink and says, "I haven't had sex in ten months. I'm thinking of hiring somebody."

"That's expensive," says Woman B. "I haven't fucked anyone in two years and you don't see me complaining. You should start exercising. It produces endorphins."

"I have money to hire someone," says Woman A.

"Of course you do," says Woman B. "You know what? Our drinks need cherries, tiny umbrellas."

"You're right."

"About the umbrellas?"

Woman A says, "Yes. It's always about umbrellas," and opens her mouth wide.  A brain the size of a moon tumbles out, sticks to the table.  The brain creates big sparks. No one knew what to do with the brain, Woman A explains.  It feels too much, knows too much.

"We better go," says Woman B. "Things are getting messy." She sticks her thumb and index fingers inside her ear, pulls out one fresh pair of lungs.  She decides that's not enough—plucks a liver out, a digestive tract.  She won't dare go for the heart. Never the heart. She is too numb to go for the heart.  

Woman A runs her fingers across Woman B's loose parts. They're smooth, strong. "Stay," she says. "I've got the next round."

"I can't pass that up," Woman B says.  But she really wants to say, "That feels good. Thank you."

When the women finally finish their icy blue drinks, Woman A keeps her promise and asks the waitress for two more drinks. This time, icy green ones. The restaurant's out of cherries and tiny umbrellas, so this will have to do, the women decide.  Soon, Woman A will realize she loves Woman B, but will be too scared to do anything about it. Woman B will understand Woman A is in love with her, but she'll pretend love is just another word for depression. And of course, Woman B will convince herself the depression is not hers. It never is. But for now, this fresh round of icy green drinks will keep the women feeling focused, safe.  They're both thankful for this day, toasting to the moment, raising their glasses to the sun. 

Ashley Inguanta is a writer and a photographer. She has stories in or coming from SmokeLong Quarterly, Corium, the Stripped anthology and others.

Detail of photo on main page courtesy of Jill Clardy.

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