The place was called Union Jane’s despite a Union Jack flag hung outside in arbitrary defiance of the American Revolution. The interior was a busy menagerie of color and texture. Bookshelves lined every wall. Bric-a-brac and tchotchkes were prevalent throughout the establishment. Pink lingerie hung from moose antlers above her. A yellow parasol was spread open, attached to the rafters from the handle, on the other side of the room.
Tegan Taylor was sitting in a giant, overstuffed chair. She had a permanent sad girl pout. She wore chunky, black rimmed glasses. She wore a prom-style gown with tights and heels. Her grandmother’s pearls were strung around her neck. Tegan chewed on an antique pipe. A tattooed mustache peaked out from the inside of her pointer finger. A class ring from St. Mary’s College caught the sunlight whenever anyone walked in the front door.
“You can’t smoke in here.”
“It’s not lit.”
“Ma’am, you cannot smoke in here.”
“It’s not lit.”
“Can you please put it away, ma’am?”
“You’re making people uneasy.”
“I’m not an easy kinda girl.”
The waitress stood there, not knowing how to take this customer. She was clearly a little odd. Without saying all of the unprofessional things on her mind, the waitress left in a huff of attitude and frustration.
“Tegan, why are you harassing with the new girl?”
“She deserved it. Dude, she was being a surly twat.”
“Will you please not talk like that?”
“What’s the matter, Ian? You afraid I’ll shatter your romantic fantasies of what a lady should be?”
“I know who you are. You don’t always have to go ‘full Tegan’ on people.”
“I’m offended by the insinuation that such a thing exists, besides, I did no such thing. I wasn’t even mean to her. I was neutral at worst.”
Ian grew frustrated with Tegan, there was no winning in these conversations. He changed the subject to something less antagonistic.
“How’s Matt doing? I haven’t seen him in awhile.”
“I left him.”
“What? Are you kidding me?”
“Nope. Why would I joke about that?”
“I don’t know. I mean…why? Why now? You guys were together forever.”
“Yup, 10 years.”
“I don’t mean to pry, but why?”
“I got tired. He got lazy. I came home the other night to him playing video games. I tried to talk to him. He snapped and said some horrible things to me.”
“I just don’t want to do it anymore.”
“I don’t want to compete with video games and his stupid friends.”
“It’s his loss, but ya know, I used to be one of his stupid friends.”
“I know, but then you got smart.” Tegan patted him on his cheek in a patronizing way.
“You can be heartless, ya know that?”
“I know, but I’m still one of the good girls.”
“Anyway, how have you been?”
“Have you ever thought of calling the place ‘Alice’s Tea Fetish’?”
Ian got up and walked away. He hated it when Tegan became combative.
“Can you at least have your tea wench bring me another cup?” She leaned over the top of the chair and hollered. Her smirk faded.
The rain continued to come down. She watched it fall for awhile before gathering up her notebooks. Tegan didn’t believe in umbrellas or raincoats. She walked out into the dreary day, just as she was.