Pari hated parties. She much preferred curling up on the sofa beneath her apple-print afghan with Bartholomew, her black lab, and watching reruns of Arrested Development. Or re-reading the Harry Potter series while sipping chamomile tea. But in truth, that’s what her life had come to: reruns and re-reads. A sweet but stale cycle.
It was time to create some new memories, to explore fresh territory.
“You came!” Veronica pounced on Pari, ensnaring her in a vice-like hug before dragging her into the house. “You look great! You clean up nice with in your little black dress and styled black tresses. Ooh la la! I know you prefer our girls’ nights in chilling in our jammies, but there are so many interesting people here you gotta meet. Drink! Mix! Mingle!”
Veronica thrust a cocktail into Pari’s hand and pushed her toward a tall, freckle-faced guy. “Pari, Pete. Pete, Pari.”
Then Pari watched her pixie-haired friend bounce away to capture another victim.
“Uh, hey.” Pete smiled awkwardly.
“Hi.” Pari gave a polite twitch of the lips, but they didn’t quite move far enough to create any sort of expression.
“Sooo how do you know Ronny?”
“Veronica?” Pete raised his eyebrows, as though this nickname was the most obvious thing in the world.
Less than a minute, and Pari already felt suffocated by this inane encounter. “Will you excuse me?” She headed for the door. If she drove fast enough, she might be able to make it home in time to catch the new Game of Thrones episode. Though she already knew what was going to happen; she’d read all the books.
But as she approached the door, it flew open to reveal a dark-eyed guy with brown hair swooped over his forehead and black horn-rimmed hipster glasses perched on his beaky nose. He looked like he belonged in a 50’s malt shop.
Pari waited for him to come in so she could leave, but the guy lingered in the doorway with a goofy grin on his face, staring at her.
“I’m sorry, have we met?” he asked.
“Are you sure? You seem very familiar.”
“You haven’t even given me a proper look.”
Pari reluctantly lifted her eyes to meet his. In that moment she felt a jolt in her senses, a whirring shimmer deep within her consciousness, a live wire sizzling through her bones. She gave a little gasp, not sure what she was experiencing, not understanding why this guy felt so familiar when she was certain she had never met him before in her life.
They shook hands, and their hands fit just right, with the optimal amount of firmness and the warm feel of a dear friend.
“So,” Drew said, his eyes shining, “are you sure we haven’t met? Perhaps in some past life?”
It sounded like a line. A bad line; a total cliché. If any other guy had said it, Pari would have rolled her eyes in judgmental scorn and shoved past him.
But, instead, Pari squinted and twisted her lips to the side in mock reflection and said, “Ohhh, you know what? I think I do know why you’re so familiar. Yes, one of my past lives – the one where I was an ancient Egyptian queen – you were that warrior dude, right? The one who won a war for me?”
“Yes!” Drew said in a spark of recognition. “That’s where I know you from! You never gave me my rightful reward, my queen.”
“I totally intended to. But how was I to know you were going to be murdered by my husband, the king?”
“Ah, yes. It happens. But perhaps I can claim my reward in this life, my queen.”
Pari gave the slightest of nods.
And then a drunken blonde chick stumbled past Drew through the doorway, giggling and pulling a rumple-haired guy behind her, breaking the spell.
Drew laughed. “I guess I should get out of the doorway.”
And for some reason, Pari interpreted his statement as a metaphor for her life. “Yes. Yes I should get out of the doorway,” she said with a glazed expression. “Life is all about movement, isn’t it?”
“Life is about balance,” Drew declared. “There’s beauty in motion and in stillness.”
There was a moment of stillness.
“So you’re coming in?” Pari asked.
“Yes. But you’re going out?” Drew asked.
“I was going to watch Game of Thrones,” Pari said slowly, “but now I think I’m going to wander about Chinatown.”
“You like G.O.T.?” Drew looked immensely pleased by this.
“Unfortunately. It’s kind of taking over my life.”
“Marry me!” He said it in that joshing, sarcastic tone used by Maeby in Arrested Development.
Pari laughed, a real belly-born laugh. “Ok Maeby,” she said in her own dry tone.
Drew’s eyes widened. He pushed his slipping glasses up his nose. “Was that an A.D. reference? Or were you saying maybe to spending the rest of your life with me? Either way, I think I’m in love.”
A twitch in Pari’s lips burgeoned into a genuine smile. She said nothing, basking for a moment in the stillness. Then she walked out the door.