It pissed Tamara off that she was portraying this delicate woman. When she, in fact, was not so fragile. When she, in fact, didn't even know if she would keep on with this pregnancy.
At the diner, they found a booth toward the back, upholstered in black vinyl with white piping. The table was turquoise. A bottle of Heinz ketchup and the requisite glass and chrome salt and pepper shakers gave Tamara something to do with her hands while she waited. Waited for the waiter and listened to Brad and Paul, who had moved on to the subject of bread pudding.
Paul crowed, "They have it. I NEED some. Holy crap."
Brad said. "Dude, what the hell? Stale bread, milk and raisins?"
"Stop talking dirty, man," Paul said. "Doesn't that sound good to you TaMARa? Bread-fucking-pudding?"
"Sure," she said. "But I don't want any right now." She turned her coffee mug over and waited for a guy with longish black hair, who grunted, "Morning" out of the corner of his mouth, to fill it.
One cup, she told herself. She ordered a runny fried egg over corned beef hash and a cheese danish on the side.
"Put it away, girl," Paul said, guffawing. "It'll be good for you both."
Tamara shot him a look that said Shut Up. You promised you wouldn't rat me out.
He saw it, she knew he did. But he just emptied three sugar packets into his coffee and guzzled. He belched his way through a story then, about the cafeteria food at his college and how delicious the home fries and roast beef were.
After they ate, Tamara, high on coffee and sugar, vibrated with energy and good will. Queens! God! New York City! She still couldn't believe it! She could wander the day away if she wanted! Buy a book and read it in the park! Sleep! Sit in Starbucks! The possibilities were endless! She loved these two guys! These two good guys who'd taken her on, no questions asked!
A short time later, though, she started dragging, started thinking about money and hygiene. She asked Brad and Paul to wait while she ducked into a CVS and bought a pregnancy test, a toothbrush, deodorant and a tube of wintergreen lifesavers.
The reality of her family, waiting half a country away, tapped at her like a mechanical knock at perfectly spaced intervals, like some sort of Chinese water torture.
She tried not to think about them. But then she saw a purple plastic hairbrush that was an exact replica of Caitlyn's. She noticed a display of shaving cream and wondered if Dave needed any. She smelled baking bread in the air outside the store and thought how much the kids would like it if she brought home doughnuts.