wist·ful /ˈwis(t)fəl/ adjective
- having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing.
“All that could have been —”
“And will never be!”
Krista was already waiting outside the house when Matty called her.
“You thought I'd be late again,” she interrupted before they even said a word.
“So it sounds like you're not?”
“Nope, bitch. I'm already outside.”
“Well, I'm floored.”
“Great, now get your ass out here so we can get going. We have reservations, and it cost a lot to get them this last minute.”
“Now you sound like me,” Matty smiled, cradling the phone between their ear and shoulder blade, a balancing act to slip on their shoes without dropping the phone. Krista could tell that's what Matty was doing when she heard them wheeze. “I still can't believe we found someone selling reservations on Craigslist.” Another wheeze.
“Just put on speaker like a normal human being,” she chided.
She hung up and a moment later Matty stepped out the door, in all their late twenty-something, “startup founder chic” glory: head to toe, Everlane to Allbirds. Krista honked, which could've been construed as either mockery or appreciation. Truly, it was a bit of both. She couldn't judge. She was wearing the same goddamn thing.
Matty opened the passenger side door and slid in beside her. “Matty,” she said. “This is so embarrassing. I can't believe we're wearing the same thing.”
“Don't worry, that makes us trendy in Japan.”
“I thought that was just for couples. But there's going to be like five others at the very least who look like us there.”
“I'm sure the trend can extend to...what's the word for 'threesome' but like, there's way more than three people?”
Krista raised a brow, concerned. “Orgy?”
“You know what, I see that look on your face, so I know I took this joke too far.”
“Yeah,” she laughed, shifting into Drive and heading off the curb. “I'm glad you can recognize that on your own now.”
“See,” Matty said. “We've learned from each other.”
Krista took a right, reaching the short stretch that converged into the main road that would lead them to 280.
“In fact-” Krista paused, concentrating on slowing for a red light and not hitting the car ahead of her. “In fact, we've learned so much, that I already know exactly what you want to listen to.”
A deep, buttery smooth voice suddenly surrounded them on the speakers, welcoming them to the podcast (produced in beautiful Downtown Oakland, California). Matty whooped.
The light turned green.
They were tucked into a corner booth: Krista nursing her only beer for the night before she planned to switch back to water and be a responsible DD, and Matty sipping a brightly colored fizzy house cocktail special. Between them, a basket of chips, barely touched.
“That lady over there won't stop pointing us out to her husband,” Krista observed. Matty glanced in the direction, where a finely dressed middle-aged woman nodded emphatically in their direction. Realizing she was caught, the woman abruptly swiveled her head back to her food.
“Maybe she saw the article about the sale,” Matty guessed. “I mean, the person working the door seemed to know who I was too.”
“That's 'cause the reservation was under Mateo Cruz, dumbass,” Krista couldn't keep the snark out of her voice. Matty went quiet.
“Sorry,” she muttered, and took a giant gulp of beer. Matty frowned but said nothing.
“It's not like she's never seen some 'famous' tech people before though, right? Probably?” Krista postulated.
“Verbal air quotes.”
“Right,” Matty said. “Just because this is SF, that doesn't mean you're going to catch Zuckerberg in the same restaurant as you.”
“You're comparing us to Mark Zuckerberg?”
“Yeah, okay, I take that back. We're more like...who founded Xanga?”
That got a single, sharp laugh out of Krista.
“We're going to be okay.” Matty held out their drink to her, and she clinked her glass with it halfheartedly. The mood at the booth lifted slightly.
So of course Krista couldn't stop herself from crashing them back down. “Everything just feels so...fucked up.”
“Don't say that.”
“But it's true!”
“Truth is relative now, remember? Fake news and all that?”
“Stop it. I'm serious.”
“What happened to the person so pumped at the start of this night?”
Krista said nothing, just took another large gulp of her beer. Matty tried a different approach. “You don't have to pretend with me. If we know each other so well now — and I know we do, because you one-upped me calling out your punctuality with my favorite podcast — then you definitely know you don't have to pretend with me. You just have to talk to me.”
“It's just...” she considered her words. “What if we don't get another chance? What if that was it?”
“Our one good idea?” Matty asked incredulously. “If we only got one good idea ever, and I wasted mine on yet another social network, then fuck me, I wouldn't even deserve to have more good ideas.”
“Maybe I don't.”
“You can't be serious.”
“I'd been refining and improving it since college.”
“You've just proven my point,” Matty jumped in. “This isn't the same idea you had at the start. All that iterating, all those times you changed it, tweaked it in some way or another — that amounted to so much more than the first idea you ever had.”
“I don't know if I have it in me to do it again,” Krista groaned, hanging her head to the table.
Matty smirked viciously. “Well... I have to say, that's such a relief. 'Cause I was really hoping to find a new partner for my next project.”
Krista's head shot up, mouth agape. Matty took a sip from their cocktail to mask their expression. But Krista caught their smirk behind the glass.
“You asshole!” she exclaimed. Matty burst out laughing. She tried to shove Matty, but only knocked over her drink instead. It careened right into their uneaten chips, drenching the chips in dark amber. “Oh shit!” she cried out. Matty's laugh carried through the restaurant and caught the ear of the waiter, who rushed over, saw the mess, and then conveniently remembered break started in less than a minute.
The waiter scrambled back away from the pair, assuring them someone else would come by to help. Krista watched the waiter hurry away, then looked down at the soggy chips, and finally cracked a defeated smile, but a smile nonetheless. “I can't believe even the waiter took one look and wanted nothing to do with us.”
“I'm so sorry, I couldn't help it, you just gave me such an opening,” Matty apologized through their giggle fit.
Krista picked a chip from the soggy mass. She sniffed at it, then popped it into her mouth. “Hm...” she considered it. “Maybe we pivot from tech entirely, move into the beer-battered snack world.” She grabbed another and held it out. Matty jerked back, reflexively, making Krista laugh.
“What?” she cooed. “It's not another social network.”
Krista took another bite, then made a face. “Yeah, no, you're right, this is bad.”
Two shots in now, with a third on the way, and Krista had already conceded to the fact that she'd be grabbing them a Lyft at the end of the night, as well as another one tomorrow to pick up her car.
Instead of ordering any entrees, the pair had asked for two of every appetizer. When one of them finished a plate, the other had to do a shot. So far, they were tied. Their original waiter – now back from break – returned to their table with the third round. Matty and Krista applauded, only to be given a scathing look that shushed them into silence.
As soon as the waiter huffed away, Krista held up her shot and noted, “I told you, that waiter is so done with us.”
“Well, good riddance!” Matty declared. “They won't get any acknowledgement in our future acceptance speech for best beer-battered snack at the Oscars!”
“Wrong awards show,” Krista laughed.
“Oscars Meyers!” Matty fake-gasped. “Don't tell me you've never heard of it? C'mon, we all know Hollywood is run by a sausage fest!”
Matty went in to clink shot glasses, but Krista cut them off and set hers back down.
“Hey, that was a good one,” Matty complained. “I deserve a cheers for that.”
“There's something more important we need to toast to.”
“What's more important than my great sense of humor?”
“Us,” Krista smiled.
“You've got to stop calling me that!” Matty huffed, then added in jest, “I resemble that remark!”
Krista made to playfully shove them, then recalled The Great Beer Spill of Forty Minutes Ago and caught herself. She picked her shot glass back up and held it out of Matty's reach.
“We do have more ideas ahead of us. Hell, we had the great idea to spend money they bought us out with to pay for a reservation to dine on overpriced appetizers.”
“And overpriced vodka,” Matty added.
“Exactly!” Krista's eyes sparkled with defiant mischief in the dusky mood-lighting of the restaurant. Matty grinned right back.
“We learned our lesson,” Krista continued. “We're not going to be fooled again. Yeah, we're a threat, and we're to be respected.”
“To us!” Matty cheered.
“To us!” Krista concurred.
“All that could have been —”
“And will never be!” Krista finished, clinking her glass to Matty's. The pair threw back their shots and slammed the glasses on the table. “Good thing that was just idea number one.”