Wednesday 2 June 2021

Manhattan Medusa

 by Susan Vita

Margarita on the Rocks

It’s hard to imagine anything stopping me from enjoying a spoonful of flan.

But there he is.

Chris, my fiancé. Chris, who I'm supposed to be marrying in three weeks. Chris, who had just responded to my ‘what u doing?’ text with ‘watching Tiger King.’ 

Chris, outside the window, with his arm around Emma. Exquisite Emma. The one he dated three years ago. We were taking break after my surgery. The one he broke up with when she lost his baby.

 Emma, with the perfect blond curls and the tiny waist. One of Christian’s hands could wrap all the way around her. She makes me feel like a monster at 5’8,” with my inky thick bob.

Meanwhile, I'm in a Mexican cafe with my parents. A green balloon, tied to the back of my chair, brags to everyone that I'm the birthday girl. On my last birthday as a single woman, my parents are taking me out for dinner and an off-Broadway production of The Little Shop of Horrors.

At first, I see the couple walking together and say to myself, "that looks like Emma and Chris." 

But when our eyes meet, he freezes for a moment, and there's no doubt. The caramel crema in my mouth turns to sand.

My gaze paralyzes him, and he stands there, eyes wide, until precious Emma notices that there’s something wrong and turns to look at me.

For a moment, I'm Medusa, and they're petrified on the sidewalk.

I pull my camera out of my pocket and take the perfect shot of them in their statue form, then text it to him.

His cell phone buzzing in his pocket breaks the spell. As he fumbles in his pocket for it, I carve the flan with my spoon.

On the periphery of my hearing, my mother asks me if I think it's too late to change the napkin color for the wedding reception.

I swallow the flan, which is now back to velvety perfection.

‘It's beyond too late,’ I tell her and show her the photo on my phone.


About the author 

Susan Vita is a writing tutor currently living in Nashville, Tennessee


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