Sarah and Sara had been texting all day. It was not unusual for them to text on Saturdays in a constant flow of send and receive, or on any other day of the week for that matter. But Sara knew this time was different. All of their texts — about being slightly (ok, verrry) hungover from Friday night’s shenanigans, about the cute barista at Sarah’s neighborhood coffee shop who evidently was home with the flu, about Sara’s mom being annoying, about really needing a day to relax and binge watch Scandal — all of these texts were leading up to one text. A text that Sarah would inevitably send. A text that could not be avoided preempted or even discouraged, because the fact of having been texting all day made it ok for Sarah to send Sara the text.
Sara was heading off to soccer, where she was going to see Mark. It wasn’t her fault she and Mark were in the same soccer league and got to see each other every week, Sara thought to herself as she texted Sarah, who was texting from home in her pajamas and wondering whether she should make instant oatmeal or put in the extra time to heat up the more hearty steel cut.
Sara knew that Sarah knew that Sara was off to soccer and would therefore see Mark. There was no need to acknowledge this fact with a text.
But Sara knew and feared that by continuously texting her about everything else in the day, Sarah was leading up to wondering where Sara and Mark were hanging out along with their teammates after the game. Sara dreaded that Sarah would show up. It wasn’t that Sara felt a claim to special alone time with Mark, it was just that if Mark and Bev hadn’t just broken up, Sarah would not go within ten blocks of the raucous soccer team. And so, Sara resented that Sarah was (perhaps, if she sent the text) going to make a move on Mark at a time when it was really just supposed to be Sara and Mark.
But what could Sara do? If Sarah sent the text, would she have to reply? She could turn off her phone and later say it ran out of battery. But, despite her dislike of competitive team sports, Sarah was still friends with several other people on the team, including Mark. She could find out where they were. And then it would be so obvious that Sara was trying to keep Sarah from hanging out with them that it could create a rift, or worse, a fight, between them. Sara did not want to fight with her best friend over a guy, or over a text message.
If she were honest with herself, all Sara wanted to do was buy Mark a beer and try to help him realize that the breakup with Bev wasn’t so much a tragic humiliation as a triumphant liberation. Sara didn’t have Sarah’s overwhelming confidence, but she did have a way with words that helped her comfort people, build them back up, relate to them, love them for who they really were. Mark had always seemed somewhat distant, smitten and obsessed as he had been with Bev, but now it was Mark and Sara’s opportunity to connect. If only Sarah didn’t text her, show up, and ruin everything.
As the day unfolded, the outlook was good for Sara. The soccer game went well. After a tied first half, Mark and three other guys chugged two energy drinks and a beer apiece and proceeded to score four goals, crushing the other team. Sara assisted on Mark’s goal and afterwards he picked her up, holding her tiny flailing body over his head and running across the field. Sara was terrified of being dropped with every step — the soccer field was uneven and sodden from days upon days of rain, but when Mark set her down by their bench and they were standing within an inch of each other, she was thrilled. It was worth it.
All the while, Sara and Sarah were still texting, but Sarah seemed totally preoccupied with the details of her own day: cleaning her apartment, finishing the book she was reading, making plans with Marisa to see a movie later. As Sara headed to the bar after the game, Mark’s arm around her as he hollered about their win, Sara was hopeful – so hopeful – that she would get to spend the rest of the day alone with him among the rest of their friends on the soccer team.
They arrived at the bar. Sara contemplated what to say.
“Hey Mark, let me buy you a beer!”
“Mark, babe, you deserve a beer, let me get you one!”
“Mark, this round’s on me!”
“Hey everyone, this round’s on me!”
She couldn’t decide.
Then Mark whispered in her ear, “I’m gonna get us shots of tequila.” Sara smiled.
Sara’s phone buzzed with a text from Sarah.
“Oh shoot Marisa just bailed on me because her cat got sick. I hate going to the movies alone.”
Sara’s heart pounded. Then she wanted to scream. Then she got another text from Sarah. It was the text Sara had been dreading, that she had known with certainty Sarah would send.
“I think I’ll ditch the movie. So, where are you guys?”
Thanks Leyram Odacrem for the photo!
Rebecca Coale - aka Becky - is a writer, musician and producer. She and childhood best friend Jessica Donalds created Dating & Hookup and founded J&R Creative Media. Becky blogs about love poetry and modern life & womanhood. She lives with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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