Game Face: Part 2

I’m not exactly overwhelmed with responses – thank you Kelly and Belinda, and to those of you responded off-line – but here goes part two.  This week’s question: “What do you think of Travis?”

Game Face: Part 2

The problem with Travis’ question is that it always left Andi at a loss for words.  Even though she knew it was coming, she never had a good response, and she refused to give it the time it required.  To come up with a response was to show she cared what Travis thought and the one comfort she had from this whole relationship was that she did not.

Travis looked at Andi’s blank face and again sighed internally.  The woman had no sense of humour.  That’s what her problem was.  Sure she had all sorts of other problems but – and he praised himself for his insight – that was the one problem all the other problems boiled down to. 

“So how goes it, Andrea?  ‘Buddy’.”  His lips puckering on the ‘B’.

“Andi.”

This too was part of their ritual.  Andi knew Travis thought that Andi was using a boy’s name in a man’s world, but that actually was her name.  If anyone was to be held responsible, it was her mother since she couldn’t imagine her father having played a role.

“Sorry?” she asked now.

“Sorry, what?”

“Sorry, what did you say?”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“I thought you did.”

“I didn’t.”

“I thought you said ‘a man’s world’.” 

Travis looked surprised but didn’t say anything more.

After a moment he sighed again – aloud this time – turned and flagged down Cathy.  Watched her approach.  Her every step.  Not even trying to disguise it.  Cathy arrived flushed.  Like she had just run up the steps or someone’s husband had copped a feel at a party.  Travis’ attention – the sheer brazenness of it – was a relief.  It was unambiguous and that, Cathy thought, was a highly underrated characteristic.

“Well, well, Travis here would like to order.”

“And what would Travis like?”

“How about them flapjacks with a side of bacon.  Or make it the bacon and eggs with side order of flapjacks.”

“The Hungry Man’s Meal?”

“Always.  Hungry.”

Cathy left without taking Andi’s order.

“Do you have to do that?”

“Do what?”

But Andi wasn’t sure.  Ogle the wait staff?  Refer to himself in the third person?

“Talk as if you were from Texas.”

“I don’t do that.” 

“Flapjacks?  Who in Toronto says flapjacks?”

“Well, apparently, I do.”

He looked at her challengingly.  This was the closest they had ever come to saying what they really thought.  Normally Andi just sat there smile, smile, smiling until Travis’ teeth ached from the effort of watching her.  He felt a thrill course through him.  He didn’t want the feeling to end.

“I would like to make it with one of the waitresses but it’s bound to end badly and I hate to get bad service.  I come here too often.”

“Pardon?”

“You heard me.”

It was nice to see Andi put off balance.  With her glossy, dark hair – chestnut or some other word people probably used for it – her trim physique.  He imagined hours in a yoga studio.  Flat-chested but he was OK with that.  It made her clothes hang better.  Travis noticed these things.  People thought he didn’t but he did.  He saw that she was dissatisfied and he couldn’t help but think that it was with him even though she looked that way from the moment they first met.  It made him feel angry and protective all at the same time.

“Don’t you get tired of the bullshit?”

Hah, now they were getting somewhere.

“What bullshit?  I would like to make it with one of the wait staff.  Well, maybe not Cathy.  Too eager.”

Andi’s expression almost made up for all those times she had made him feel selfish for being a few lousy minutes late.

“That bullshit,” she said, “Why are you telling me that bullshit?”

“I’m just making conversation.”

“People just making conversation talk about the weather, hockey, the quality of my coffee or the lack thereof.  People just making conversation don’t talk about screwing the wait staff.”

“We both know what the weather is like.  I don’t watch hockey and I could give a shit about your coffee.”

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