Lisa ran the plump tip of her middle finger all the way around the plate, gliding through the cream cheese mixture to make a perfect ring a half inch inside the edge. Then she sucked her finger clean, just like her mom used to, lips puckered out and away so she didn’t ruin her make up. After a sprinkling of dried parsley flakes, the lid of the “Dip & Go” covered the crab dip and she popped it in the fridge.
Her one-month-to-go belly couldn’t be covered by her pink terry bath robe anymore, as it would gradually peep out from under the belt, tied tight at the band of her bra. At home that didn’t matter, and she smiled when she caught the bump’s reflection in the window of the stove.
“Terry?” she called out softly to the man lying on the couch. Legs crossed, shoes on, he laid with his eyes closed but kept his brows and forehead scrunched tight. “Baby?” She leaned over and softly combed her nails through the curly blonde hairs on his arm.
“What?” he said without moving.
“We have to leave soon, it’s almost seven.”
“Told you I didn’t want to go- Didn’t want to on Monday, don’t want to now.” He tucked his arm even tighter into his side.
“I thought you were being funny? Come on, Suzie always makes that spinach dip in the bread bowl, you love that.” She sat on the narrow edge of the couch and gently massaged his neck. “How about a beer while I get dressed?” She rose without a response, grabbed a brown bottle from the fridge, popped the top on the built-in bottle opener over the garbage, and set it on the table in front of him. She disappeared up the stairs, humming.
He let the rest of the night transpire in his head as he laid on his couch, trying to squeeze in as many minutes and seconds of peace as possible. He reached over for the bottle and awkwardly sipped from the side of his mouth, considering the forced conversation the night would bring. He knew Lisa would go on and on with the women about the baby, and he imagined Suzie with her six chins and fake smile getting in the last word. Then that pain in the ass David would start drilling him about his empty stock portfolio and hand him his 17th “D.E. Stern: Broker” business card.
In fact, the only parts of neighborhood couples night he actually enjoyed were the spinach dip bread bowl and Stern’s fridge full of Heineken. Occasionally Mike and Rita’s 17-year-old daughter Megan would tear through in her bicycle shorts, which he also didn’t mind.
“Shall we?” Lisa called from the kitchen, grabbing the “Dip & Go” from the fridge. Terry waited, then sat up, slowly, still trying to extract a few more seconds of peace.
“You didn’t even have to shower and you look nice! Come on.”
Once they made it to the sidewalk, Lisa handed him the crab dip for his left hand, then took his right hand as they walked.