laugh by laura stamps

Laura Stamps, Micro fiction

“He’s got a girlfriend,” Mary says, pouring each of us a cup of coffee. “How do you know?” I ask. This can’t be true. It’s too soon. We’ve only been divorced for a month. “I saw a picture of them on Facebook,” Mary says, handing me a cup. “I hope she’s a spiritual person,” I say. “He needs all the help he can get.” Mary laughs as she slides the last batch of bagels into the oven. “I think she is,” Mary says. “She’s wearing a cross necklace in the photo.” Mary closes the oven door and sets a serving tray of bagels in front of me. “A cross is a good sign,” I say. Mary and I have been best friends since high school. She’s a talented cook. Her bagels are so moist they melt in your mouth. For fifteen years we’ve run The Cosmic Bagel, a catering business offering decorative organic bagels for breakfast meetings, brunch, lunch, and special occasions. Mary bakes. And I decorate. It’s a partnership that works. “There’s more,” Mary says, as she pulls off her oven mitts. “More what?” I ask. Using my artistic skills and a watercolor brush, I paint Mary’s organic cream cheese icing in a French lace pattern on each bagel in the serving tray. “She’s more than his girlfriend,” Mary says, looking like she could strangle him. “More?” I say and brace myself for bad news. There’s nothing good about my ex. “It was a photo from their honeymoon,” Mary says. I freeze. The paintbrush falls from my fingers. “After that narcissist put me through the divorce from Hell he marries again in less than a month?” I ask. Mary looks worried. “Cathy, you must feel awful,” she says. But I don’t. Laughter. The crazy kind. That’s what I feel. To laugh and laugh and never stop. “Do you realize what this means?” I say. “I’m free of him. I’m finally free!” Then we’re both laughing. And we don’t even try to stop.