We have a friend, Christina. We call her Migsy. And, in a sense, from my end, the plot begins with her. It begins back when I had not yet met her in February, when her name stuck in my head as Brad told stories from work. I contacted her, on blind faith, and commissioned her to help me when I surprised Brad with a visit. I liked her immediately. She’s charismatic and charming. Has a reality about her that I was sure would suffocate in a place like Manhattan. Migsy breathes genuine life into an overstimulated city. I can get down with that.
So when she said she was coming to visit me as soon as I moved back to Chicago, my excitement was overflowing. Sticky root beer float all over my knuckles when the ice cream drops in and the glass lip takes to napping. Brimming over.
The morning of Migsy’s arrival, I waited at The West Egg, a breakfast spot in River North near the lakefront. Downtown Chicago. It’s right around the corner from where a friend of mine used to live, where she once saw Kevin Costner eating a tomato. Or something. My eyebrows were raised, my head on a swivel, waiting for Migsy to saunter around the corner, her head high, cheekbones glistening, smiling.
I put our name in, sent her a text message. She was coming, she said. The sweet hostess sat me at a two top, awaiting Migsy. I sent her another message and sipped a cup of coffee with sugar in the raw. Waited just a bit. My heart was filled with excitement and although I had suspected this weekend as a plot of sorts before, while I waited at The West Egg on the eleventh of June, I really thought Migsy was going to walk through that door.
Across the restaurant, instead, was Steve, Brad’s roommate while he lived in Chicago, and dear friend, proofed by incriminating pictures which may or may not include Looney Tunes sweatshirts and suspenders meant for men over sixty. What are friends for? Momentarily, I thought it coincidence, us all having chosen the same restaurant for breakfast on this particular Saturday, as I waited, still, for Migsy’s arrival.
But then, after I stood to give Steve a hug, he sat down at my table with me. In Migsy’s seat, which was odd. Something wasn’t normal.
Steve said Migsy wasn’t coming. And that I should come with him. He didn’t know that, for once, I had already decided what to order. With Brad, it usually takes me dozens of minutes. With my friend Charissa, nothing short of an hour. Instead, I left with Steve. But not after an accusatory, if prideful declaration.
Brad’s here, isn’t he? From New York City. He must have flown when I thought he was at work. Steve’s eyes avoided contact with mine. He laughed. Never answered. My thoughts were in fast forward. This is it! I could hardly wait to see him.