Last night summoned the courage to call Molly while I was making some homemade mac and cheese with Gruyere and bacon.
“Hi,” I squeaked into my phone.
“Hey,” she said.
I tried to think of what to say next, but somehow talking to her was more difficult than talking to Boss or Ian. “I heard about, um, stuff,” I said finally.
“Yeah,” she said slowly. “Sarah told me she told you. So that’s why you’re calling?”
I shrugged even though I knew she couldn’t see me. I couldn’t think of the words to say. “I guess,” I managed. Then I added, “It’s more that I feel like you were just really mean to me and I don’t know about how you treated me.”
“I know,” she said to my surprise. “I’m sorry.” Then she added, “Chris and I broke up.”
“But-but-but you’re pregnant,” I whispered. I was horrified.
“I realize that,” she said.
“And you’re OK with that situation?”
“There’s not much I can do. I was unhappy. I knew he was just staying with me and asking me to marry him because of the pregnancy,” she said with a little shakiness in her voice.
Huh. That’s not the impression I got around Chris. I always thought he was completely taken with her, and that she could see that. But the Molly on the phone didn’t sound like the completely confident Molly I knew. I wonder what happened.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“OK,” I said, not knowing what else to say. It was silent for a bit, and when I was about to say goodbye, she said, “Aust3n, I’m sorry for the way I’ve been acting. I could blame it on hormones, but it was probably more jealousy.”
“Jealousy?” Jealousy of what? Ian? Boss? None of it made any sense.
“You seem like you’re just–I don’t know. In college it was like, you ran to me with every decision. And then I found out you were going out with this guy that I didn’t even know and you were happy and you just didn’t need my help anymore,” she said, her voice very small.
“Oh.” I thought about how mean she’d been to me while I was dating Ian, how insistent she was that Ian was a bad influence, and it started to make sense. “I guess I don’t know what to say about that.”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m sorry you broke up with him. I don’t know that I understand why, but I hope it wasn’t because of something I said.”
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “It was complicated.”
“Maybe I could come over and you could tell me?”
“OK,” I said. “As long as I can feed you some of the mac and cheese I’m making and tell me more about Chris and er, other stuff?”
“You have no idea how much I’ve missed your cooking, Aust3n. Which reminds me, have you thought about taking a cooking class?”
I switched the phone to my other ear and thought about telling her about my life list, about how when I really thought about what I wanted to do, cooking was one of them. “Yeah,” I said. “I have.”
“Because I’ve always seen you running your own restaurant.”
“Of course, Aust3n. You’re a great cook. And you could totally run a restaurant.”
“I don’t know about that.” The idea of me being someone else’s boss, or doing all the work to get a restaurant started was a little daunting. More than a little daunting. My stomach clenched in fear at the thought of all of it, and I felt a little sick.
I could hear her earring clanking against the receiver, and I knew she was shaking her head at me. “There are things you need to learn, Aust3n. I’m coming over,” and the phone line went dead.
And for the first time in a few months, I was really excited to see my friend.