“Trust me, it’s not what you think,” says Marti, knocking the ash off the end of her Winston and waving at the bartender for a refill.
“Well,” I answer, “it’s not too hard to figure out. He’s either married or he’s not. And since his left hand has the tell-tale gold birthmark, I’m going out on a limb, here, and guessing married.”
“Well, technically no, but in a way, yes. Really, it’s not what you think.” She swizzles her screwdriver with a tiny bar straw.
“Marti, what I think is, you are now officially living a cliché. And you are too good and gorgeous for a cliché.”
She studies the bowl of honey roasted almonds on the bar, oblivious to the dozen men around her who’d happily swat me off my barstool, just to sit next to her. Marti has that effect on men. Sadly, she also has a keen nose for the ones who are wrong for her, and it is to them she gravitates. Unfailingly. Repeatedly.
“Look,” she says, not looking. “Give me a chance to explain, okay? Ted was married. Past tense. He and Sonya got divorced. Then she was diagnosed with lupus – I think it was lupus, or maybe rheumatoid arthritis – and she asked him to stay in the apartment until the medication started working and she got stabilized.”
“Yeah? How long ago was that?” I ask.
Marti picks up her glass, drains it, and stands. She digs into her purse and throws a twenty down on the bar.
As she turns to leave, she says, “Four years. Satisfied?”
And then she’s gone.