Office Party

By Lisa Molina

Except for the pie, Janet hated David’s office parties.

Smile, chit chat, shake hands, suck in belly. Why did I wear this dress?

Where’s David?

Wait. Who is that young brunette? Is David whispering in her ear? I think I’m going to vomit.

Janet rushes outside, gasping and gulping in the frosty air, and sees the dark clouds unfurl from the bright full moon. No longer in the dark, she sees a large stone sitting in the middle of the sidewalk that she hadn’t noticed when they had arrived earlier. She walks over to it for a closer look.

A few minutes later, Janet slowly opens the front door, and notices David and the brunette have disappeared.

Conversations are suddenly being hushed among the now-tipsy and giggling party-goers, who huddle together, not acknowledging her entrance, and avoiding eye contact with her.

I know they’re talking about me. But that’s OK. Just smile.

She walks over to the dessert table, slices herself a large piece of pie, and releases the belly she has been sucking in all night as she walks to a chair in the corner, and sits down alone.

She will just enjoy her pie here alone, as long as it takes for David to eventually reappear, and tell her it’s time for Janet to drive them home.

As she takes her first enormous bite of delicious cream pie, Janet closes her eyes, and visualizes the large stone now hiding in the trunk of their car.

Chew. Wait. Patience. Savor. Smile.

It will be over soon enough.

* * *

Lisa Molina is a writer/educator in Austin, Texas. She is a 2022 “Best of the Net” nominee for poetry, and her digital chapbook “Don’t Fall in Love with Sisyphus” launched in February 2022. Her poems, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction have been published in Bright Flash Literary Review, The Potato Journal, Sky Island Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Epoch Journal, and Beyond Words Magazine. Her next chapbook is slated to launch in spring 2023 by Finishing Line Press. In addition to writing and reading constantly, she works full-time with high school students with special needs.

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