Flash Creative Non-Fiction by Jackie Huertaz
Can I order a Michelada with a Modelo Especial? I say rubbing my right temple.
Yeah, I’ll have the same, and a menudo, wait do you have pozole? Mari says, adjusting her gold bangles.
Yes. We have menudo and pozole on Saturday and Sundays only. All day, our waitress says collecting the menus.
A text message from Faith: Hey prima, order me red beer. I’m on the way! J
The waitress scurries off to place the cure for our hangovers, as my girlfriends and I, begin piece together our girls night from the night before.
A forty-dollar cab ride.
A phone number from a guy named Gil written on a napkin torn in half.
A Jack in the Box receipt for thirty-dollars. Except we don’t remember who ordered the jalapeno poppers.
And for some unexplainable reason Montell Jordon’s “Get it on Tonight” still on repeat in my head.
Here you go ladies, enjoy! Beerfest mugs overflowing with clamato juice and Modelo Especial accented with jumbo shrimp garnishes, and tejan salted rims decorate our previously naked table. Mari and I take our time snapchatting our drinks to let everyone know how much fun we had the night before. Our buzz revives as we take the first long sip of our Micheladas.
In walks my cousin Faith wearing yoga pants with a white tank top exposing her cheetah print bra.
A Mexican family is seated in the booth behind us. The wife gives a curious glance our way, followed by her husband. The couple’s two-year old plays peek-a-boo with me over the partition between our joining tables. An innate part of me wants to hold the baby in my lap and feel its warmth against my skin. It’s after 12:00pm and families begin to slowly trickle in after mass. And I’m thinking we should’ve gone to the El Tarasco on Main Street, a darkly dimmed bar, for our borachaness.
The hostess seats more Mexican families next to us¾husbands in Portrillo Cowboy boots, wives in beautiful dresses from JC Penny’s and Dress Barn. And that occasional white family you don’t expect to see, but down for Mexican food. I start to feel anxious in my clothes from the night before, my face still halfway composed with greasy makeup, topped with even greaser hair. I reach for my sunglasses, an attempt to create a barrier between myself and the families. I don’t want to think about marriage, children, or church. I don’t want to think about why I’m thirty-two and single, still drunk from the night before. I don’t want to be reminded of the things I should be doing, on a Sunday in my thirties.
My girlfriends are:
Real Estate Agent.
So what’s the happs? What exactly happened last night? I don’t remember a thing,Faith says, resting her shades like a headband on top of her head, before reaching inside her handbag for a Kleenex. She wraps the Kleenex around her index finger, swooping makeup boogers from the corners of her eyes. With each swipe she makes, I feel closer to my old self. The guilt and pleasure from a eighty dollar bar tab, and the weight of hooking up with a guy named Gil feels somewhat lifted.
You spent how much at the bar?
You hooked up with Gil? On Nadia’s couch! Whaaaa! Isn’t he related to Raymond? Wait didn’t you date Raymond back in the day?
How did you get home Faith?
I don’t remember taking that shot
You drunk dialed your ex? Fukkkk
You left your chonies at my place
I don’t know how I got home
I think I left my card at Lums
ABC Taxi picked us up
Wait, oh shit, that’s my friend Brian, we went to high school together. I haven’t seen him in years. Faith waves over at him excitedly.
Fucking Faith she knows everyone! Wait don’t call him over here, I look like shitMari says, reaching for her sunglasses.
We look like shit! At least you showered, I remind her, sinking further into our booth.
Brian walks over. He is Portuguese cowboy meets Jason Statham. Before proper introductions are made, Faith starts drilling him with questions. But the only question we care to know is if he is single.
I’m going through a divorce. We were married for fifteen years. His Jason Statham camera-ready grin fades and he looks into a football game on mute behind our table.
Aw, so sorry to hear that, we say in kinda disingenuous unison. Faith exchanges numbers with Brian, no one has to mention it, but we all secretly hope he will call. That he will join us later for a drink or two. Because on some visceral level we need Brian or the Brians of the world to remind us that it’s okay to be a little displaced in life.
Another beer. Another bar. Another beer. Another bar.
The sun is setting on Main Street as we walk into Tommy’s restaurant. More girlfriends have joined our Sunday Funday posse, and now we’re rolling five deep.
We’ve transitioned from Micheladas to anything with vodka.
Okay, one “last, last” Mari says making Dr. Evil quotation marks with her fingers. Then home.
Yeah, right we aren’t going home. It’s Paisa night at El Presidente, let’s go dancing! I say moving my shoulders and snapping my fingers in my seat.
Hey. Wait. Is that¾is that…Brian sitting at the bar? Mari says peeping from behind the specialty cocktail menu.
Oh shit it is! Faith starts giggling out loud. I think he’s with someone. She still waves unapologetically.
Brian catches our gaze and waves casually over to us. He does not leave his seat to say hello. Instead, he tips his Coors Light bottle in our direction.
I think he’s on a date.
What the fuck? That’s our date!
I think¾ I know that girl. Um…Yeah…I don’t like her.
Is she cute? I can’t see that far.
Mari goes into stealth mode and puts her shades on to get a good look.
Yeah. I mean…she’s all right.
It looks like they’re on a first date.
Yeah. Her laugh is annoying.
Whatever, that fool has five kids anyways.
We place our drink orders and watch the sun completely set. Something shifted in all of us and somewhere in the space of ordering drinks and Brian’s date we lost our momentum. One-by-one our girlfriends closed their tabs, and said their goodbyes. Mari and I stayed a little longer, not ready to go home to our empty spaces and observed as Brian engaged in first date awkwardness. We listened to the nervous pitch in his date’s laugh; we noticed her order drink after drink in attempt to dilute her awkward timbre. Brian, his date, Mari, and I, kept drinking until the bar closed. Brian and his date left with his hand on her lower back, turning back once to say goodbye with his movie star grin. I called ABC taxi to pick us up. We decided to skip dancing and head home. We both had work and school in the morning.
Jackie Huertaz was born and raised on the north side of Visalia, California. Where she still lives today. She received her English degree at Fresno State University where she is currently in her third year in the creative non-fiction program. She teaches at Fresno State and is an assistant editor for the Normal School and San Joaquin Review. She writes about the working class, friendship, and the strong Mexican women in her family.