Some of the spilled wine flows under my glass and forms a circle. I probably shouldn’t have poured this last glass. I’ve had enough already. But the men have left an uncomfortable silence in their wake, and I’ve given up trying to fill it with words so I’ll try wine instead.
It’s the way you don’t look at me. It’s the way your eyes glaze over when we are sitting together, just the two of us, and I’m telling you about something I read. It’s the way you put so little effort into answering my questions about you or your work. It’s the way you look over my left shoulder, then over my right, like there is a tennis match projected on the wall behind me. It’s the way you lost your smile the moment the men left the table.
Maybe if I were male, this wouldn’t be happening, although I’m not talking about recent trends in lip gloss shades, or the latest improvements in curling iron technology. I was talking about an interesting article I found online. I didn’t sprinkle my conversation with references to our monthly visitors, or to the horror of uterine cramping as seasoning to my thoughts on internet-based learning.
I’m not pretending to be interested in you or your work. I really do want to know. When the men sat between us only moments ago, you had us all laughing with tales of the yearly team-building event you attended last week. I have ears just like they do, and veins full of blood and alcohol too. I can listen and laugh just as well as them. I swear.
But no, you don’t want to talk to me, and you don’t want to listen. I don’t know why and I don’t know how to fix the problem. So we sit and wait while the men laugh outside with their cigars.
You stare at the walls and I move my wine glass a bit to the left, adding another circle to the pattern on the table.