His laughter when I enter the dining hall is boistrous.
He calls my name when he sees me.
Weaving through the maze of chairs, I'm smiling when we meet.
Unburdening myself of jacket, bags, and the gift pressed into his chest.
Whisper "Happy Birthday" up to his close smiling face.
She slides me my drink, a scratch Ginger Ale,
and he winks at me over his beer.
But I feel intrusive and out of my skin, though masked with the celebratory smile for
my distinguished friend.
Friend. No. Not really.
I smile. I nod. I say 'oh yes' and 'that's interesting'.
So I sip my soda until its time to leave.
The ice touching lips that he wants.
I've lost the taste for soda now.