Girls Girls Girls

Cady Vishniac
| Fiction

When she gets home, Brianna’s on the couch again, and worse, Elkie’s mom is sitting on the couch with her. They’re watching Crooklyn and shoveling microwave popcorn into their mouths. Even Elkie’s grandmother is rapt, staring at the television.

“They should make more movies about girls,” Elkie’s mother says. “Eleanor, did you have fun at work?”

Brianna makes eye contact. “Elkie always has fun at work. I used to make fun of her for brewing all that coffee but I was just being an asshole.”

Elkie’s grandmother points at the television.

עס זאָל זײַן מער קינאָ װעגן שװאַרצע מײדלעך. דײַן חבֿרטע, למשל, איז אַן אמת
.אפֿשר, בסוד, טשיקאַװער פֿון דיר

She dissolves into incomprehensible laughter.

“What Grandma said.” Elkie’s mother pats Brianna on the back. “You kids almost gave me a heart attack this morning.” She sidles out to the kitchen wearing the smile of a woman who knows she’s done excellent parenting. Elkie hates seeing her this smug, loves seeing her leave.

Brianna says, “Not my fault. She called me.”

Elkie sits on the couch next to Brianna, in the space her mother just vacated. “If I say you might be right about Don, will you please still be my friend?”

“I’m still your friend. I know you’re just going through a hard time.” Brianna leans in to hug her, and the couch squeaks. “You need to hang out with guys our age.” She says this like any guy their age would want a prostitute girlfriend.

“You could do so much better than me.” Elkie hugs her back. “You’re so normal.”
“I’m pushy. I know it’s annoying, but I can’t stop myself. My parents are the same way, but I thought maybe if I didn’t also become a lawyer….”

Elkie’s shocked to think Brianna has her own insecurities, her own problems, and then she feels like an idiot for being shocked. Everybody has their own problems, right? At least Brianna’s problems are working out for Elkie. She comes from a long line of people-fixers.

“I’m glad you care enough to push,” Elkie says, and then, “His name was really Joe. I feel so stupid.”

“You’re not stupid. That’s not your issue.”

They hug and then stay there with their arms around each other. Neither girl moves for a minute, three minutes, ten. Even Elkie’s grandmother has nothing to say. Elkie’s chest is sinking into Brianna, into the couch, into the floor, through the ceiling, and into the apartment downstairs. Don helped her study and he made her the account on BigDoggie and he told her about his kids. She believed every word. But Elkie could be wrong. She could always be wrong.

Cady Vishniac studies Yiddish and Hebrew at the University of Michigan. Her work has won the contests at New Letters, Mid-American Review, Greensboro Review, and Ninth Letter, and is forthcoming in Glimmer Train.

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