He peered over the edge of the bed. “It seems to be broken,” he stated matter of factly, as if Koala had not been around my whole life. I covered my eyes with my hands and laid back on my pillow. “Please dad,” I whispered, “can you just check again?” He reached down. “Don’t!” I screamed. He looked searchingly at me. “I don’t want to see it if it’s broken.” He looked over at me lying there and looked vaguely concerned. “I’ll just get rid of it then,” he said, “close your eyes.” I closed my eyes for a long time, but when I finally opened them, the room was empty. Two people had walked out of my life forever, and I only cried over one of them. It wasn’t Dad.
I was thinking about that moment from my childhood as Maria droned on and on above her spaghetti bolognaise. I believe she was telling me about her horrible day at the studio or something like she usually does. Our conversations have become so standardized. I’m pretty sure I could recite the entire thing without her being there. The hum of voices all around us seemed to serve as the background chorus for her complaints. My eyes wandered over to the next table where a young couple sat in a big puddle of disgusting love. His hand was on the table palm upward, and she was tracing lines and squiggles across his hands. They were laughing softly and I guessed she was making him guess what she was drawing. By the blush on his cheeks, I could guess it was something suggestive. I hated them.
“You know, Maria,” I said right in the middle of the story she was telling about her ‘frenemy’ Josh who I kind of thought was always hitting on her, “It seems to be broken.” She stopped and narrowed her eyes. “What does?” she asked. She was beautiful. Suddenly she was as beautiful as she’d always been. Her edgy short hair cut framed her oval face like it was fashioned just for her. Her blue eyes, so dark they were nearly black, looked suspiciously and searchingly at me. “Forget it,” I said and looked down at my cold spaghetti. “Yeah right,” Maria said, “you said something was broken. What is it? Is it me? Is it us? You seem really distant tonight.”
I looked over at the two kids playing the hand drawing game. The boy sat at the table alone, weeping. I looked back at Maria. “I’m sorry,” I said, “I just thought of this weird moment with my dad.” Maria leaned back in her chair and pinned her lips together primly. “I’m serious,” I protested, “I just realized that he broke my koala bear and my koala bear was there for me more often than he was. And that’s all he had to say to me, ‘It seems to be broken,’ like he had nothing to do with it. Just like he had nothing to do with me.”
“I’m pregnant,” Maria said. The boy at the next table paid his tab and walked away.