L.A. Woman

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Authors: Cathy Yardley
introduce myself, but he looked at me like I was some sort of thief until he realized I was your roommate. Then he looked at me like I was a potted plant. Grunted something incomprehensible, left in a hurry.”
    Sarah’s heart fell.
    “Real prince you got there.”
    “You could tell that from just five minutes,” Sarah said sharply. “You don’t know him. You don’t even know me, and I live here.”
    “Good!” Martika smiled, a bitchly-sweet sort of grin. “I was starting to wonder if you were dead. You know, that’s the loudest and clearest I’ve ever heard you speak? And what exactly is so wonderful about Mr. Personality, that I seem to have overlooked?”
    Sarah didn’t even grace it with a response. She was already late, it was ten, and her boyfriend had left her without so much as a goodbye. She just sort of harrumphed in Martika’s general direction. Sarah conjured up a vision of him, stumbling around in the dark, getting ready and trying not to wake her up, kissing her gently while she slept. No, Martika didn’t know him, and she did. After being engaged to him for four years, she ought to know, dammit. She pulled on jeans and a T-shirt, dumping her towel on the floor. Dammit. Dammit, dammit, dammit.
    Sarah was still thinking about the exchange on Sunday, the first day off she’d had in…hell, too long. They were testing the building for asbestos or something, so Becky couldn’t force her to come in. Though she’d tried.
    Sarah sat at a lunch table at Il Trattorio on Melrose with Judith. It was nice to see a friendly face that didn’t want a mound of paperwork done.
    Sarah toyed with her salad. “Judith? Do you think Benjamin…I mean, does he strike you…”
    Judith sighed, putting her own salad fork down. “This hasyour roommate Martika written all over it. What’s the so-called problem with Benjamin now?”
    “You don’t think he’s a prick, do you?”
    Judith goggled. Sarah didn’t think she’d ever heard Judith say “prick” in her life, now that she thought about it.
    “No, I most certainly do not think he’s…that.” Judith straightened out her napkin on her lap with a cluck. “Just because he’s not some sideshow freak or a candidate for that Jim Rose tattoo show doesn’t mean the man’s a…” Judith glanced around, seeing if any of the other tables were noticing the inappropriate turn this conversation was taking. “Well, he just isn’t.”
    Sarah smiled, suppressing the urge to say “Prick! Prick! Prick!” and watch Judith turn purple.
    “Why do you ask? Do you think he is?”
    Sarah looked down at the table. “I’ve been sort of unhappy lately.”
    “Well, that’s understandable,” Judith soothed. “You’ve been apart for a while, and you guys haven’t been separated since college, for pity’s sake.”
    “I know, I know,” Sarah said. “It’s just…”
    She paused.
    “Spit it out already.”
    “Well, don’t you think it’s sort of…well, prickish of him to be completely behind me moving down here, to help him out, and then all of a sudden he can’t help me make ends meet with the rent?”
    Judith looked at her inscrutably. “You mean, when he found out the promotion he was counting on suddenly fell through?”
    Sarah continued doggedly, “Okay, but…he never calls, and he’s only visited the once, and it always seems like it’s all about him… ”
    “When it ought to be all about you?”
    Sarah glared at her. “When it ought to be, you know, more even. ”
    Judith shook her head, then took a sip of her iced tea. “Sarah,what exactly do you think he’s done to you that’s so ‘prickish’?”
    “He just doesn’t seem supportive at all.” Sarah knew that was a lame way to put it, and her carefully thought out argument, the one that made so much sense when she ranted to herself in the car on the way over to this lunch, suddenly seemed like a cross between a whine and a wail. “I mean, I know he’s busy and all—and he has a

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