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The Girl on the Fridge

Standing in the kitchen, my back to him, Jones pushed his fist into the knot in my shoulder. “What did you do to yourself?” he asked as he worked out my pain.

“I have no idea. It must have been you,” I said mischievously, stepping away for a minute to grab a drink from the fridge.

“You can’t say it wasn't worth it,” he said, one-upping me.

Jones continued the massage as I guzzled a Gatorade. I turned my attention to the gallery of photos on his fridge and noticed a recurring face.

A young woman, squeaky clean and innocent, smiled like a darling in at least a half a dozen pictures with her head on Jones’ shoulder. In the middle was a photo of the pair at a football game wearing matching Redskins jerseys. Another of her with Jones in a beautifully intimate pose, their eyes closed and foreheads touching.

It didn't upset me. Jones and I were longtime friends who provided only occasional distractions. We had no higher expectations of each other. I was curious, so I asked. “Who’s the girl on the fridge? Does she know I'm here?”

“Oh, she’s a friend of mine. We hang out a lot, but we’re not boyfriend-girlfriend.” I didn't doubt his explanation since he had no reason to lie to me about another woman. I assumed she was a younger, prettier version of me. A more photogenic and fridge-worthy FWB.

“Well, that’s cool,” I said, somewhat dismissively. “She’s cute,” I added, because she really was. I gave him that certain look, implying more.

“Yeah, she is,” Jones said casually, “but we’re not like that,” he was quick to add.

A few weeks later was Jones’ birthday. I invited myself to the celebration, be it a party or bar-hop, but he apologized wholeheartedly and explained that he was having a guy’s night out. No girls allowed.

Fair enough, I thought. He deserves to get good and drunk with the guys. I thought about it no more.

Until the next day when the pictures started popping up on Facebook.

Pictures of Jones at a bar with his buddies. With their girlfriends. With his sisters. With his female friends. And with The Girl on the Fridge, pictures which made it very obvious that they were, indeed, “like that.”

Two lies. But why? If Jones and I were such good friends, without labels or commitment, why not just tell me that The Girl on the Fridge was his new girlfriend? Why not just tell me that it would be much too awkward for me to be at his birthday party with her? I certainly wouldn't disagree with that logic. I didn't confront him about it, though, because it didn't matter.

A few weeks after his birthday, he invited me to spend the evening with him. I made up my mind on the spot that, until he stopped lying to me about The Girl on the Fridge, I wouldn't hang out with him anymore. But instead of telling him the truth, I told him I had out-of-town guests and couldn't come over.

Now we were both liars. But the difference between Jones and me was that I was a coward, too.


Comments

  1. I just see it as protecting your heart. But that's just me...

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