MaxieJane Frazier

When we’re twenty, we laugh and laugh. For the men surrounding us as if we’re gold at the end of a rainbow. For the slurred compliments and bestial breath. From the corner booth: chins dipped, we offer the look, the lashes. We dash from our perch long enough to sashay, all suggestion, to the Electric Slide. Asses and boobs, curved and tight, push against our miniskirts and buttons. We are certain we will be the one to win, as we laugh and laugh and laugh.

When we’re thirty, we wait for the new job; we wait at the altar; we wait at the frying pan where we hear them laughing in the other room. We wait for soccer and carpool and the promotion that went to the guy who wasn’t on maternity leave. We nod and agree with them. We cut ahead of the one who is on maternity leave now. Sometimes we laugh but only alone in the bathroom mirror when it usually turns into tears.

When we’re forty, we meet in cafés holding triple shot oat milk no whip deep-scented lifelines. We meet their break ups, we meet their diagnoses, we meet each other’s eyes. Our quiet laughter is ironic, small, unobtrusive under acoustic Ed Sheeran’s “Eyes Closed.” Each of us meets every new tragedy while holding our breaths. Will the next one be ours?

When we’re fifty, we arrange their futures, take the call from our old exes’ new wives, lead the meetings, promote the mothers. Later, we order Thai green curry, the one they always hated, and prop our feet on the ottoman, sipping our paired wine. We read the book, hell, we write the book. We’ve forgotten about tears and looking in the bedroom mirror. We laugh and laugh and laugh.

MaxieJane FrazierMaxieJane Frazier is a writer, teacher, editor, and horse-crazy retired military veteran. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Booth, SoFloPoJo, Collateral JournalScribes*MICRO*FictionBending GenresThe Ekphrastic ReviewThe Bath Flash Fiction anthology, and other places. MaxieJane holds an MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars and co-founded Birch Bark Editing where she is a co-editor of MicroLit Almanac.

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