“Tell me you seriously don’t remember.”
Stacy is sitting in a lawn chair on the deck of her three-story townhouse, looking out at the colorful autumn leaves in the woods. Breaking her gaze is the banister of the railing, even more so, the two foot high resin frog sitting there.
“You are actually telling me that you don’t know where I got that thing,” Stacy says, jutting her chin toward the frog.
“Yes, I am. What’s the big deal?” Karen asks. She’s visiting from Fort Lauderdale, grateful for Stacy’s guest bedroom and the chance to sit outside in the cool air of Charlotte in October. “You going to tell me?”
Stacy raises an eyebrow and looks at Karen. “How long have you been divorced now?” she asks.
“Two and a half years,” Karen answers, involuntarily wrinkling her nose. “What does Thomas have to do with it? Wait, I know, Thomas looks like a frog.”
“Rude,” Stacy says. “No, I’m talking about how that frog got there.”
“Did he give it to you? Figures he’d give you something. He never gave me anything. Except now, now he gives me alimony, child support, and grief. Other than the grief I’d say I’m getting a better deal than you got with that damn frog,” Karen says.
“Bitter much?” asks Stacy. “No, your in-laws gave that frog to y’all. For a wedding present.”
“Really? I don’t remember that at all.”
“Yeah, you got married on a Saturday and you put that frog on your front stoop on Monday and you complained about it every day for six years. I’d always liked it, so when y’all were breaking up I asked if I could have it. But you said ‘no’; you made a big fuss about how it was the ‘last bastion’ of your marriage and how you couldn’t possibly part with it.”
Karen stands up and walks over to the frog. She reaches out and strokes its plastic head, running her hand over its smooth haunches and webbed toes.
“When I visited you a year ago I took it,” Stacy says. “It’s been sitting on my banister ever since. You’ve been here twice since then,” she sighs. “You never even noticed.”
“I never even noticed,” Karen repeats, looking out at the trees and wishing there was an autumn in Fort Lauderdale.