It’s common knowledge in the Bronx that you don’t remain friends with your ex, but Xavier ached to prove the others wrong. Â His ideas always ran contrary to common wisdom. Â During his childhood, he prided himself on doing the opposite –he smoked pot to diss his parents, but went to St. Nick’s for Sunday Mass, just to annoy his friends.
“How’s your new guy?” Xavier asked Pammie.
They were sitting across from each other Â for their weekly early morning Wednesday breakfast at the Pop and Son Diner, where they always split the Pancake and Bacon Special.
“He’s good,” she answered.
“You sleeping with him?”
“You really want me to answer that?”
“Sure. We’re friends now. Platonic friends. Like Chandler and Ross’s sister, what’s her name.”
“Yeah, I’m sleeping with him?”
They both sipped from their now lukewarm coffee.
“Is this getting serious?” he asked. Â “You’ve been seeing him for a couple of months now, right?”
“Nah. He’s married. He has two kids.”
Xavier coughed and gulped.
“You’re screwing around with a married guy?!”
“He’s my boss.”
“He takes me places. We do things. Places I couldn’t go with you. Expensive places.”
Xavier’s face soured.
“Don’t ruin this, Xavier. You said you could handle this.”
“Yes. Yes. We’re friends.”
And that’s when they changed the conversation to the Yankees.
It was a few days before a holiday weekend, and Home Depot was crowded with customers filled with illusions of finishing some half-baked renovations in the kitchen.
Xavier found it hard to concentrate on helping the customers. His mind was on Pammie.
Xavier had no anger at Pammie. He cared about her. Loved her. He was impressed with her commitment to success, of getting ahead in life. Â She was the only girl he ever knew who carried about a “Goal Notebook” in which she outlined each day’s intended achievements.
If he was furious at anyone, it was her boss. Â Some rich Manhattan guy, who inherited his real estate business from his father, and never had a hardship in all his life. And now he’s fucking some girl in the office for fun. Â Some chick from the Bronx.
Xavier wondered what this dude would think about him if he walked into the Home Depot right now. Would he even look into his eyes? Could he imagine that someone as inconsequential as himself once shared a bed with Pammie? Does he even know Pammie’s full name? Â Or is she just some little whore from the Bronx for him to use when his wife is too busy doing her charity work?
The rage spread to Xavier’s fist. He grabbed a hammer from Aisle 5 and with full force, smashed it against the wall, cracking it.
“What the fuck…?” asked Johnson, the floor supervisor, on seeing Xavier with the hammer in his hand.
“I’m taking an early lunch,” said Xavier, and left the store to take the nearest subway into midtown Manhattan.
Langstein Realty was located at 350 Park Avenue. Â It was noon. Â Outside the office building, Pammie was chatting with Bruce Langstein, the CEO, and Edgar Wiseman, the top realtor of the firm. Â They were waiting for Marvin. Â They had reservations for four at Matisse on Madison.
Pammie didn’t notice Xavier walking towards them, his veins popping in his forehead. Â Xavier was heading straight for Bruce, Pammie’s boss.
A second later would become the destruction of the long friendship between Xavier and Pammie, once again proving that common wisdom in the Bronx is always right.
Wow. Excellent buildup to the photo!
This is pretty much perfection.
That’s highly disturbing.
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The evolution of your writing is improving in these little stories. You’re delving more into the story inspired by the photograph and we’re getting more and more. I love it. Especially this one, for it’s disturbing nature. Because that’s how I roll, apparently.
Really good…I want to know what happens next. And why did Xavier and Pammie split up?
This left me wondering if Xavier still had the hammer in his hand. I secretly hope he did but I suspect there was just a verbal altercation. I love that you left that determination up to the reader. Another great “slice of life” from the Big Apple.
The main character was too much of a paradox but so far, at the very end it looked like he lied for someone he loves but this time in a good light. Good read Neil!