71 • The Other Women
“You don’t remember dinner?” Cameron turned on the couch. “None of it?”
“I remember being in the kitchen with Pearl filling the water pitcher that was still mostly full.” Will poked a finger into the threadbare spot on the knee of his Levis. “I remember I wasn’t dressed to her standards. I don’t recall what we ate, what we talked about, or how I ended up taking your dog for a walk.”
Cameron tilted her head and looked hard at Will but didn’t say anything.
Will looked at the floor between his feet, imagining the winding curves of the wood grain to be a small river on which he could float away.
“I think you need some sleep.”
He let out a low chuckle.
“I’m serious,” Cameron said. “If it were someone else, someone just going along, merrily enough in their normal little life, and all of a sudden couldn’t remember a whole evening that happened less than an hour ago, I might think there was something to be concerned about with a sudden memory blackout. Even Joe, I’m a little concerned about. But you?” She clasped her hands together in front of her and brought her index fingers together into a point toward Will. “No. Not you.”
Will looked up. “You have a strange way of offering comfort, you know?”
Cameron laughed. “I’m sorry. That wasn’t really meant to be comforting. Not in the way you think, anyway.” She lifted her glass. “I just mean that in your case I think there’s a simple explanation and it’s not particularly worrisome.” She took a sip of water and set her glass back on the coffee table. “At least not long term.”
“But we should worry short term?”
“No.” She shook her head. “Not unless you don’t take care of it.” Cameron took a deep breath. “Look. You’ve had a heck of a couple of weeks. You just met Joe and started spending time with him. You just met a pretty girl and started spending time with her.” She winked. Will blushed and looked away. “You’ve had to deal with Joe’s crisis and trips in the middle of the night and then this Nina person running you ragged. You don’t sleep. I just think you’re exhausted. That has a way of catching up to a person.”
“I’m just tired, you think.” Will looked toward Cameron, his eyes not meeting hers but seeming to search the space behind her.
“I do think. Hell, I’ve just been along for a tiny bit of this carnival ride and I’m exhausted.”
“I just need some sleep.”
“Well, that and you need to resolve whatever it is with this Barbara person.”
Will stiffened and tilted his glass back and forth. “Is that a thing with you?” He didn’t look up.
“This Nina person. This Barbara person. Is that another way of saying ‘those people’? Or do you always refer to other women like that?”
“Other women? Like, besides myself?”
“What?” Will scowled. “What does that even mean?”
“It means if they are ‘the other women’ then you’ve made some sort of assumption about who I am.”
Will paused and looked at the hole in his knee. “I didn’t say ‘the’ other women.” He brushed his palm against the soft wear of his jeans and his voice dropped, nearly inaudible. “I would never make that kind of assumption.”
Cameron turned in her seat again and leaned forward. “I’m sorry, Will. I didn’t mean —”
Will’s shoulder rolled up against his neck, sort of a one-sided shrug. His arm felt cold.
“You might be right, though,” Cameron said in a near whisper. “Maybe they do feel like the other women.”
(to be continued)