Fallen Soufflé

Lola treats herself to a burrito at Chipotle. The woman at the next register invites her for margaritas. Sure, Lola shrugs, even though she had meant to take everything to go. They carry bright trays like schoolgirls. The woman squeezes heart-shaped hips into a cafeteria chair and holds her purse in her lap, the knotted strap eager as a teenager. Cups chink. Lola licks her rim. They unwrap silver foil.

“Facial,” her new friend giggles, gulping steam. Alcohol spreads through them.

“Here’s mine,” she whispers, not like Lola offered anything of Darcy. Limp gloss photo of a toddler, her face a fallen soufflé, headband wrapped in silk rosettes. Lola swallows her beans, doesn’t know what.

“How old?” Lola asks, sucking a lime. Her girlfriend massages the picture with her thumbs. I know she looks like I fucked a donkey and Lola laughs, a lamprey, perhaps, and they go on like that until the mother gives it a name and seizes Lola’s hand. Caged between this woman’s fat fingers Lola thinks of Darcy’s gifted and talented test, her 8 o’clock with an East Side homemaker, the niche she’s carved counseling adults on how to make a smooth exit.

They eat sloppy with hot sauce and sour cream.

“My period,” the woman slurs. Lola goes on chewing. The woman stands, chair scraping. “Bleeding,” she grabs her thighs, and Lola realizes this stranger is not quite right. “Are you ever going to help me?” Heads turn. Lola rummages for something fast in her purse.

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Sara Lippmann’s work has appeared in Word Riot, Nanoism, Scribblers on the Roof, All Things Girl, Slice, Carve, Fourth Genre, and others. She holds a BA from Brown, a MFA from the New School, she contributes reviews to the Book Studio, and edits nonfiction for Stymie Magazine.