“All men are goats,” said my best friend after I told her that my husband had swapped me for Mortal Combat. The goats thing is a code phrase of Russian women in distress. It’s appropriate both as a statement and as a response. She was pressing her husband’s underwear when she said it, so it sounded almost shocking.
We were sitting in her kitchen and she’d poured me a shot of cognac. I was poking at the leftovers of chocolate cake, which were supposed to make me feel better.
“Remember how you stole the strawberries off this same cake when we were in seventh grade? Do you have any idea how expensive they were?” Nina said, only half mocking.
“I know, I was so impressed that you baked that thing from scratch. And my hands, they just reached right for the strawberries. After I saw your face I swear I wanted to slap myself,” I said. “Or spit them back out. Or anything that would make you happy.”
“You were planning on marrying my brother back then, by the way,” Nina said. “And look how well that turned out. He’s been divorced twice now.”
“I know. And you were planning on marrying his best friend, the guy with long dark hair. I think he eventually became a dentist,” I said.
She put down the iron and cut a piece for herself. She took a spoonful, then another and another. Then she said,
“So basically, both of us lucked out.”
And we polished off every little chocolate crumb.