Time to continue Sylvia’s story. Once again, I’m linking to the prompt over at Studio30 Plus. This week, the prompt is:
Patois and/or Dialect:
[noun] jargon or informal speech that is used by a social group, or in a particular region.
Sylvia walked into Flux and nervously skimmed the crowd of slick men and women in hopes of easily locating her friends. She wasn’t a fan of these types of bars and had practically begged her group to pick a different place. But, she was outnumbered 3 to 1 so her options were limited. Sylvia was uncomfortable and felt out of place in the “see and be seen” type of atmosphere that was Flux, ever since she had gotten married and gained all her weight. When she was a twig, up until the day of her wedding, she didn’t care if people stared at her. Now, however, was an entirely different story. Now, she wanted to fade away and never been seen from again.
She was thirty minutes late and they would be annoyed, the group had made strict rules that were expected to be followed and punctuality was one of them. Also, no new ‘friends’ were allowed unless the entire group voted. And then there was the event attendance policy rule where they weren’t allowed to miss one of their GNO’s unless they were dying. As Sylvia located them and headed toward the table, she briefly wondered why she bothered maintaining the friendships because she had changed since high school and they clearly hadn’t. Mean and bossy girls to the end. But, they did go out of their way to support each other and longtime friendships like these were a rarity. Despite the rules.
Her face felt like it was going to explode in its fake smile as she slid into the seat. Since Hailey, Jess and Franki had gotten to Flux at the designated time, she was left with the seat where her back faced the crowd. They knew she hated that. And what was worse was the three of them were seated, like judge and jury, along the cushy booth while she had to sit with her uncomfortable vagina on the hard chair.
Hailey gave her the stink eye while Franki inspected her perfectly manicured nails. Jess, the least judgmental, smiled warmly but then tempered it immediately, “You’re late.”
Sylvia swallowed and nodded, “Yep.”
Franki finally stopped looking at her nails and stared at her with icy steel eyes, “You could at least apologize, love. You know the rules.”
Sylvia nodded again but pictured herself jumping across the table in order to bitch slap the ruby red off her lips. In an unnatural act of rebellion, she decided to flag down a waitress instead of offering the required apology her ‘best’ friends seemed to be waiting for.
A mini-rage started to bubble and she narrowed her eyes, “Oh my god, you guys. I was late and you’re pissed at me? What if I had been in a car accident? Or, what if someone had broken into my home when I was getting ready and my body was cut up into tiny pieces right now? Geez, not the end of the world, people.”
Just as she completed her tirade, she was saved from immediate retaliation by the waitress. Sylvia gave her a giant smile and ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a double shot of chilled Patron. That should aid in mental preparation, she thought.
Sitting in silence, Sylvia listened to the chatter of the patrons while trying to ignore her friends who were talking about something that happened at the mall today while they were purse shopping. All the voices buzzed together creating their own dialect, one she couldn’t decipher. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, sure a panic attack was about to set in. These were new occurrences in her life, same as shopping for size 10 instead of size 4. Just more discomfort to add to her new normal.
Finally, her drinks arrived. She went for the tequila and threw it back like a high school senior on Spring Break in Mexico. She didn’t even need the salt or lemon, tequila was her poison and she loved everything about it.
When she started swirling her wine glass on the table, Hailey cleared her throat, “Sylvia. Darling. We need to discuss.” which caused the other two to bob their heads in agreement.
Biting her bottom lip, Sylvia shifted her eyes across the three faces that stared at her, “Okay, spill girls. What’s the big talk we need to have?”
Jess squirmed uncomfortably, she wasn’t one for confrontation and usually let the rest of them do the talking for her. Franki, the leader of the pack, sighed dramatically, “Here’s the thing, Sylvia. We are your best friends, as you know. We’ve been through a lot together since high school and we make it our business to watch out for each other. We also make sure that each of us are following the rules. Rules we all agreed upon, years ago. One of them being our general appearance. And honey, you broke that rule 20 pounds and 3 bad haircuts ago.”
Although Sylvia wasn’t shocked, she was surprised that this conversation hadn’t come up months ago. She debated whether or not she would interrupt the oncoming insults masquerading as helpfulness but decided to remain mute until they all had their turn roasting her. Part of her wanted to just get up, walk away and never see them again because she knew true friendship wasn’t like theirs was. But, she was too scared to. If she didn’t have them or her husband, she would have no one. She’d be alone and that wasn’t something she was certain she could deal with. She was much better in groups than as a lone figure. So, she would sit there and take whatever they threw at her.
Franki’s mouth kept moving but Sylvia blocked out most of her hurtful words by focusing on other patron’s conversations. Then, Franki turned to Hailey to allow her a turn, “We don’t like that you haven’t given us your share of monthly event money. We know you have more than enough to cover what you owe. All the gifts we go in on require you to step up, Sylvia. It doesn’t matter that you chose not to go to Helens shower or wedding. And, you skipped out on Franki’s sisters baby shower. You still have an obligation to the rules. None of us are struggling financially, least of all you.” Sylvia noticed Hailey’s left eye twitching, something that happened when she was really pissed off.
Both Franki and Hailey turned to Jess. Jess sank a bit in her seat, “We heard your husband is cheating on you, Syl. I’m so sorry.” She snapped her jaw shut, obviously mortified that she had been the one selected to tell her.
Hot tears burned her eyes and her heart sank into her stomach. First, her best friends found stupid ways to insult her and then the grande finale was to pour salt on a wound. She opened and closed her mouth a couple times, not able to expel the words she wanted. She looked at these women whom she’d been friends with for most of her life and she realized she truly did not like them. Well, aside from Jess. Sadly, if she dumped one she would be forced to dump them all. Even though she didn’t really know any different, she knew enough to realize friends just didn’t treat each other like this. She was tired of the high school mean girls all grown up and meaner than ever. She needed true friends, especially right now and they just weren’t that.
Pulling a wad of cash from her purse, she threw it on the table as the tears poured down her cheeks, “Here, that should cover what I owe you for all those stupid costs you require and then some.” Then, she pulled out some more money, “And this should take care of my portion of bill from this miserable meeting.”
She stood up shakily and folded her mousy brown hair behind her ears, “Before any of you can say another thing, I just want you to know that I’m done. I’m finished. If this is how our so-called friendship is, then I am better off being by myself. Alone.”
Without waiting for a response from any of the mean girls she had thought were her friends, she left them sitting, slack-jawed and cold-hearted.
Headed home, despite how sad she was, she felt more in control than she had in many years. Three down, she mused as she blasted the 80’s on 8 station, one to go.