Author: James Moran

“So tell me,” Damien says, “how are things goin?”
We’re having our monthly coffee at Naima’s Café. I want to cruise through my part quickly so Damien can vent. Last month was a tough one. He and Charmaine moved in together and he pushed her too hard while they were hefting the couch up the stairs and she dropped it and broke her foot.
I say, “With me it’s always the same—”
My phone interrupts with a chime and notification. Ronaldo, Tatiana’s brother, says “Agora!” on Tatiana’s family Whatsapp group. The group has been blowing up since news broke this morning that someone had assaulted Mauro Hassan, Brazilian model, food show celebrity, and general “It” guy. Tatiana hated that guy and had been saying she wanted to punch him in the face. Apparently someone just walked up to him in a gourmet market in Rio de Janeiro and punched him in the face. Her family is having a field day with it.
I put my phone on silent and flip it upside down.
“Like I was saying, it’s always the same with me. Married to the hot Brazilian scientist in the process of inventing teleportation who makes all the money. I can’t complain. I just wish I wasn’t relegated to the stay-at-home husband role.”
That’s it. Like I said, it’s always the same with me. I don’t need to dwell on it. I’m not here grabbing coffee with my friend to process something that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. I’m about to say, “How about you? How are you and Charmaine?” But I don’t say that.
Damien is distracted. Not distracted. Uncomfortable. He keeps looking around then at me like he wants to say something. “Are you happy?” he finally asks.
“As happy as anyone,” I am in the process of saying when Damien says, “I did it.”
“Did what?” I ask.
“I punched him.”
“Punched who?”
“Mauro Hassan.”
“Yeah, right.”
“Rick, Tatiana and I are friends, right?”
It’s true. They’re good friends. I don’t mind that. “Yeah,” I agree.
“I did it.”
“But he’s in Brazil.”
“I did it…I punched him.” Damien is excited now.
“You did?”
So people can do this now? Just appear in a different country and punch someone?
“Do you mind?” Damien asks.
“No,” I say. “That’s amazing.”
“Good.” Damien looks more relaxed now.
Yet over the course of our conversation he keeps asking if I’m ok with it.
Not until I’m walking to my car do I realize I am stunned. And the most surprising part isn’t that Tatiana has achieved her life’s goal of teleportation. It isn’t even that she shared her real-world deployment of said goal with Damien behind my back. It is that Tatiana and I are over and I hadn’t even realized it.