Blue Juice (excerpt)

She met him on his lunch break after a morning of thin and unsatisfactory blue juice made her suspect she might be alone.

Miles twisted a plastic straw around his finger until his fingertip was swollen and purple. They sat at a picnic table in the playground. The weighty smell of burger grease escaped in waves as the glass doors swung open and shut. 

“Are we friends?” he asked.
“Friends? Yes, I think we are. We were friends back then.”

The garish pink scrawl of the BurgerPop Burger sign blinked overhead.

“But you don’t know me anymore.”
Margot thought about it. “But I still care about you. I care if you live or die.”
“That’s the definition of a friend, is it?”
“I don’t know a better one, honestly.” She smiled.

Miles released his finger from the straw. It relaxed into its natural colour. 

“I’m quitting the juice,” he said. 
Her smile faded. 
“Sorry I just … why?”
“I don’t know. I just wanted to.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“But why does it have to make sense?”
“People don’t just do things like that for no reason.”

He didn’t say anything right away. Margot chewed on the edge of her styrofoam cup and waited.

“I thought if you were my friend you would at least try to understand.”
“I’m sorry. I’m not not trying to understand.”
“I don’t feel like I should have to explain this to people. Like what’s it to you if I’m on the juice or not? What’s it to anyone?”
“Then why did you say anything?”
“I don’t know. Because quitting isn’t easy. I came here to restart my life. Running into you felt like luck. I guess I thought I could get a little support.” 

Margot didn’t know what to say. 

Maybe things would be different if she had known what to say. Maybe even tried to quit herself. Helped him carry it. Together they might have succeeded. 

Maybe they could have started the resistance twenty years before the resistance began.

Instead, they fell into a tense silence. 

Margot watched the kids on the playground while Miles scratched at the table varnish.