(c) Eve Francis, 2015.
“This is my favourite song,” she said.
Amanda looked up from the baking aisle. Lisa held her hands on her waist, swaying her body from side to side, her hoodie open to display her bright red Tegan and Sara t-shirt. Amanda drew her attention back down to the shelf, trying to parse out what the difference between baking soda and baking powder was.
“Come one. You’re not listening.”
“I don’t need to listen,” Amanda snapped. She ran a hand through her brown hair, her bangs sticking up. The walk to the supermarket had been small, but in the hot July heat that could still fry an egg even at three in the morning, she was still drenched in sweat. She had no idea how Lisa was still wearing a hoodie, when Amanda was boiling in her tank top. “Do you have the recipe on your phone?”
Lisa stopped swaying and handed over her phone, somehow still landing in time with the muzak over the speakers. Amanda scrolled thorough the recipe, finding the egg-free option at the top. Normally, Amanda was more on top of things than this. But tomorrow was her sister’s surprise thirtieth birthday party and no one told Amanda that Jennifer’s boyfriend couldn’t eat eggs. So cue making a new cake at two in the morning, when tonight was supposed to be the night … Well, Amanda didn’t even want to think about that so far.
“Aren’t these stores great?” Lisa said, her blue eyes wide as she took in the many different boxes of cakes. Her fingers traced over a rainbow sprinkles one, then curled through her hair.
“Yeah, I guess. They sure make my fuck-ups more palatable.”
“No, no,” Lisa said. “You’re not a fuck up. You just forgot.”
“Odd how that sounds so close.”
“Oh, please.” Lisa rolled her eyes, then reached forward and put her hands on Amanda’s waist. Amanda nearly dropped the phone. This isn’t happening, is it? Is Lisa into me too? Or did I suffer from heat exhaustion on the walk over here and my boxed wine L-Word fantasies are really coming true? Amanda’s thoughts crashed around in her head, all too good to be true. But Lisa’s hands still remained firmly on her waist, her pink lips forming a coy smile.
“You need to relax, Manda. All I mean that the stores always have good music. The kind they can’t play during the daytime. You can actually hear the difference right now. And music can make even the most fuck-ups bearable. Yeah?”
Amanda sighed. Of course this was about music. Not about them, their will-we or won’t-we friendship. The prelude to all lesbian relationships was friendship, she had been told. But she didn’t know if the same rule applied to twenty-something bisexuals who were still invited to heterosexual weddings and surprise thirtieth birthday parties. Probably not.
“You’re not listening. Listen.” Lisa tugged on Amanda’s sides again.
Fine, okay. She could hear the song now. And recognized it too.
“Who is that? I know the voice.”
“You should know the voice. It’s Robert Smith from The Cure. ‘Friday I’m in Love.'”
“Oh.” Amanda’s face went red. Lisa took her hands off her waist and continued to dance in the aisles. When a store worker walked by and eyed them, Amanda picked up a tin of baking powder. She didn’t even care if it was correct anymore. “Now all we need is egg replacer and—”
“I think I’m in love,” Lisa said.
Amanda stopped. “What?”
“Grocery stores like this. They make the whole world feel like a dream. We can get anything we need, and it’s like time doesn’t exist. Everything is empty. It’s like the apocalypse, but better.”
“And that makes you … happy?” God, Amanda, you can’t even say the word love.
“Yeah, because when else are you going to be happy? You may as well at the end of it all. Especially when we’re all well stocked with rainbow cakes and there are no line ups. Plus, the music.” Lisa swayed again as Robert Smith chimed on about the days of the week and how he felt about them. “The music is pretty killer.”
“Yeah …” Amanda turned around, placing the egg replacer in her basket. “I’m ready whenever you are.”
Instead of dancing down to the check out, like Amanda expected her to do, Lisa turned and pressed her lips against Amanda’s. Amanda gasped, but didn’t have very long to be surprised before Lisa ended the kiss. She grinned at Amanda’s shocked expression.
“See? I told you it was my favourite song. And because it’s past midnight, it’s Friday, so … I think Robert Smith is onto something.”
“What … are you … ?”
“Quick,” Lisa said, interrupting Amanda to peck her on the cheek. “I’ll race you to the front.”
Amanda’s mouth fell agape, silent. She didn’t snap out of it until she heard Lisa’s flip flops down the aisle, and then she grinned. Now she could see the appeal of the all night grocery store; at 3am, there were no lines keeping them from one another, and they still had another couple hours before the sun came up.
“How long do you think it will take to bake the cake?” Lisa asked as they stepped outside.
“A few hours. Tops.”
“Good. Because I think we should go to an all night diner next.”
Amanda laughed, then felt Lisa’s hand twine with her own. “For the music, I’m assuming?”
“And the company,” Lisa added, giving Amanda another kiss. This one lasted much, much longer, for which Amanda was relieved. She still heard the tune of “Friday I’m In Love” in her head, and felt the heat of the summer night on her skin. There was still so much time before the birthday party, and so many songs she realized she had never really listened to. Not completely, not like Lisa did.
“Sure,” Amanda said. “You have a deal.”
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Eve Francis is an f/f author who lives in Canada, sleeps really late, and watches a lot of bad horror movies.
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