Author’s note: It seems that I’m not the only one who tends to have internal monologues! I am pleased to welcome my very first guest post on Missing Brains, in which the author sits down for a Manhattan lunch with her good friend Beyoncé.
As I looked over the menu, I could feel my eyes start to glaze over. I should never have let Bey pick the restaurant. She never understood that I was just a college student without a billion dollar net worth. I could hear the emptiness echoing from both my wallet and my stomach.
“What are you thinking, honey?” she asked absentmindedly. I was transfixed for a moment at the sound of her voice. I wondered how many Grammys she had to keep in the back of her closet for lack of space in her French pied-à-terre. I gulped. Making conversation was not going to be easy.
“Oh, I think I’ll just have a side of sautéed carrots or something.” I looked up to try to gauge Bey’s reaction. She had her eyes on her iPhone, typing a note, most likely to Jay.
“Sorry babe, Jay’s been babysitting, and I think he’s overwhelmed,” she said, looking up at me and smiling. My frustration melted away. Her perfect face glanced quickly down at the menu and then back up to me. “I think I’ll have a salad. The raspberry-glazed walnut greens are supposedly to die for.” She smiled again, and slipped her phone into the purse slung across the back of her chair.
“Now you. What is happening in your life these days? I hear there’s a boy…?” Her voice sounded like a million twinkling lights. My annoyance returned. This lunch had been a mistake.
“Look, Bey, I’m not a hundred percent sure I want to discuss this one with you. The last time we talked about dates you set me up with the Czar of Serbia’s son, and he tried to convert me to communism on a yacht in the middle of the Adriatic.” I grimaced at the memory. Beyoncé looked slightly ashamed.
“You know I was just trying to look out for you, Lie. Wasn’t it you who said he was a great kisser?” She winked. I grimaced again.
“That was before he told me that the boat hands were illegal Serbian slaves.” She rolled her eyes at that. Even sarcasm looked good on her. I spent a second wondering whether fairy dust came out of her nose when she sneezed.
“C’mon, Lie, tell me something about your love life. I promise I won’t intrude this time,” she said, smiling sweetly. I sighed.
“Okay, okay. I know Ivy is keeping you away from the gossip. But there wasn’t much to tell. We had one date, then we both went our separate ways. We’ve been talking on the phone and texting, but… I just don’t know where I want things to go from here.” I expected her to look bored, but her eyes never wandered from my face. She cocked her head a little as she listened.
“Well,” she started, flipping her head a bit to keep the blond ringlets out of her eyes, “how much do you think about him? Like, your average day. Give me a percent.”
“I don’t know… sixty, maybe? Seventy?”
“Well honey, I think about Jay all the time. When we were first hittin’ it off, I want to say he was on my mind every minute of every day. And he was touring, signing, and jetting off to Paris every other week. Thinking was all I got from him back then.”
I could feel my regret increasing. She could never keep the conversation from wandering toward her perfect family. I couldn’t blame her. I could see the waitress bringing over our food on the edge of my vision. Bey must have texted our orders to one of her entourage. I couldn’t quite picture the look on the chef’s face when a six-foot-five, two hundred pound black man handed him a small white slip of paper with the words “salad and side of carrots” scrawled on it.
The waitress put down the salads and hurried away. Beyoncé smiled and picked up her fork. Before I could touch my carrots, the waitress returned with two glasses of champagne, then quickly flitted away again. I sighed.
“Do you think I should see him again?” My voice was low. I could feel another grimace coming, and I tried to stifle it down by shoving a few carrots into my mouth. I watched Bey eat her salad. She may have been the only person in the world who looked like a movie star while chewing arugula. I swallowed loudly.
“Look, honey. I think if you find love, you hold onto it. And if you think this boy is worth your time, you give him a little and see where it takes you. Live your life!” She let out a dazzling laugh, showing her miraculously perfect teeth without any bits of lettuce. I glanced around, and as I expected, the people at the tables around us were trying their best not to stare. I muttered something about going to a dive bar next time.
She glanced down at her gold watch, probably a present from Jay. “I’m so sorry – I have to get going. I have to hit up the recording studio for a few hours before the party tonight. Are you coming?”
I could see her assistant up at the front paying our bill. “Uhm, is that the one at the top of the Rockefeller?” I could hear my stomach grumbling. Hopefully the Tasty Burger around the corner was open by now.
“Yes! You have to come. It’ll be wonderful. And maybe Vladimir will be there!” She smiled knowingly, grabbing her purse and then leaning in towards me. “Maybe you two can rekindle what you found on that boat…” She winked again, and I frowned at her salad. She had barely touched it.
“As long as there are no boats around, I’ll consider it.” I had learned much earlier on that it was better not to argue with Bey. She kissed me on the cheek twice and flitted to the door with a quick “Au revoir!” before disappearing onto the street. I flopped down in my seat. After a minute of staring at the remnants of my honey-liquor flambéed carrots, I grabbed my bag and hurried out of the restaurant, heading towards the burger joint on the corner.
Many thanks to Elle West for the wonderfully written story!