Fine by Sam Woods

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Clothes litter the floor. A beer sits half drunk on the table, lukewarm, but it’s fine. You’ve been taking small sips from it. 

You need to drive. 

“What about this?” Your friend pulls a blue dress out of her closet. It’s fine. The colour doesn’t remind you of anything. Not the ocean or the sky or a song. “It matches your eyes,” she says. 

It doesn’t, but it’s fine. 

“Have you guys talked at all?” 

Not even a little bit.

“Yeah, we’re fine. He’s just been busy with the band.” The smile on your face is tighter than the fit of the dress but your friend has a belt to fix that.

“We’re going to be late.” 

It’s fine.

“They never start on time.” 

The parking lot is full. Familiar faces smile and ask how you’ve been over and over and you repeat that you’re fine until the word starts to feel like a stranger in your mouth. 

A beer finds its way into your hand, paired with a side of sympathetic eyes. 

They ask how you are, and you repeat that you’re fine. 

They hug you and you repeat that you’re fine. 

You feel a small crack in the makeup you carefully applied, and you repeat that you’re fine, and the music starts and there he is, and you’re fine and the lyrics wrap around your head and you mouth along with the words that have memorized themselves and you take sips of your beer and you’re fine. 

The song ends and everyone claps and you’re fine and you sing a long with the next song and the next and you’re fine, and a new song comes on. 

And you’re surrounded by friends. 

And you realize what the song is about.

And you’re fine.

And you listen to the lyrics and he’s thinking of leaving. 

And you’re surrounded by friends.

 And you’re fine until your friend asks if you’re fine, until another splash of beer hits the back of your throat, until a sea of eyes turn and look at you and you see so many familiar faces that haven’t been home in months trying to drown you in sympathy. 

And you’re outside. 

And you’re fine.

And you’re crying.

And you’re fine.

And you’re told it’s just art.

That it has no meaning.

And you’re fine, 

until you’re not. 

 

Sam Woods lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Her work has appeared in Road Maps & Life Rafts, and Space by The University of Regina. You can find her on Twitter @SamLynn_Woods

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