His new truck, curbside, outside of the venue. Cars file past methodically, like a large herd, towards the lures of Friday night.
"Damn, had I known that I would've had a ceremony. This is one of the few places in Milwaukee where we can do this."
"Nobody really cares about this neighborhood," Steve replies.
Inhale. Exhale. Light up a smoke, conceal the smoke.
"Guess who contacted me on Monday."
"Nooooooooooooo way. You're kidding."
"Nope," I say.
Smoke rolls out from behind our lips, flattens against the windshield like a cloud of dust. The window button clicks when I press it, unaccompanied by the whir of the motor. No power. Steve inserts the keys into the ignition. A grey-haired man in a white shirt and grey passes by along the sidewalk on the passenger side of the car. The scent triggers an almost imperceptible stall between one step and the next.
"What'd she want?" he asks.
"Yep, totally fucking with my head."
We are stoned.
"Now what nothing," I say. "I spent a year chasing after her and now she comes around? How fucked up is that? And I'm not telling you this because I'm getting back together with her. I just needed to get it off of my chest."
"When did you talk to her?"
"Thursday. I didn't know what to tell her, really. It was the last thing I expected to have happen. She knows about E______."
"Oh, she hears that you're with someone and now she comes back," Steve says.
"Yeah," I say. "She admitted to that much. Says she feels I should know."
A hazy silence. No police cars in sight.
"Fucking women," Steve says, though he doesn't mean it. He knows he doesn't mean it and I know he doesn't mean it. He says it because it's the laziest thing one can say; blame this confusion on a defect that must be encoded into the genetic makeup of their species.
We exit the truck in a veil of smoke.
"Oh my God!" I say. "That felt so good. A huge weight off my back."
I dance my way down the street, back to the club, hooting, hollering, rejoicing in this world which chance has made.