Hangry, a short story by G. Lynn Brown at Spillwords.com
Thought Catalog



written by: G. Lynn Brown



Lynnie checked the time. She snorted. He was late. As usual.

She dialed her phone, and his voicemail answered. Her stomach growled, and so did she.

Okay, she’d put up with his disrespectful nonsense long enough. This was it. She was going to kill him and, surely, it would be justifiable homicide. Self defense, actually. After all, he left her to starve to death.

But what if he was there, sitting alone at another table, wondering why she was late?

She scanned the food court, searching the throngs of lunch goers for a familiar face.

Nope. No Nelson. Just Lawrence Frazier sitting near the fountain eating a burger.
Not the familiar face she expected, but still a very welcome sight.

It had been quite some time since she last saw Lawrence and, boy, did he look good. If one went for distinguished, urgent looking guys like Lawrence. Which she did. But she loved Nelson.

She pulled her attention away from the man in the tailored suit for another time check, then landed her focus right back on Lawrence and, like a visitor to a museum admiring a work of art, couldn’t look away.

“I am so sorry I’m late.” Nelson leaned down and placed a quick peck on her cheek and caused her to start.

She fidgeted in her chair. Her gaze darted back and forth between the man she could only admire from afar and the one who stood before her. The two men couldn’t be more different.

“Did I scare you?” Nelson asked and planted himself in the seat across from her. “It’s not like you weren’t expecting me,” he added with a laugh.

She didn’t find any of it amusing.

“Oh, don’t be mad,” Nelson pleaded and held her hand. “It’s just, work called as I was walking out–”

“I’m starving.” She pulled her hand from his, uninterested in hearing any of his tiresome excuses.

Nelson sat back in the chair, passed his hand through his hair, and heaved a sigh.
“What were you going to get?” His tone dripped with misplaced indignation.

Good question. Actually, she had been so preoccupied with starvation and frustration, among other things, she didn’t give it much thought.

Over Nelson’s shoulder a neon sign blinked Hot Pizza. Yeah, she could go for a slice or two.

“Pizza.” She placed her hand on her grumbling stomach.

“I don’t know. Sounds good, I guess.” He shrugged. “Yeah, I guess I could go for some pizza. Or, maybe …” He looked around the food court. “Nah, pizza will be good, I guess.”

Ah, indecision. Another of Nelson’s little quirks that she used to find cute, but now only added to his irritation quotient and would most certainly garner sympathy from the jury in her upcoming self-defense trial.

“Get. Whatever. You. Want!” She clenched her fists on the table.

“Okay, calm down.” He got up, leaned down, and kissed her on the mouth. “I’ll go get the food.”

Finally! And only forty minutes and a pounding headache later than it should’ve been.

She searched her purse for aspirin, but looked up from her bag and found Lawrence watching her, only to abruptly turn away.

She chuckled and lowered her head, but kept her eyes on him. He stared in her direction. His countenance was pensive, yet sweet.

It reminded her of the first time she saw him, several years earlier. Though it was obvious, she couldn’t believe he stared at her from across the courtroom. Not until she smiled and he reciprocated. She had never experienced a more beautiful, more tender, more sincere smile than that. Ever. Or since.

She gave up her hunt for aspirin and turned her attention toward the fountain. This time Lawrence didn’t look away.
She smiled ever so subtly. He returned the gesture.

And just like that bygone day, his smile filled her with such warmth, such fullness, such love. It amazed her how a man she hardly knew evoked feelings and emotions that the man she loved didn’t even stir. And having such a thought, no matter how true, made her feel a little guilty. But then, what did she have to feel bad about? She loved Nelson.

Another glance at her phone revealed ten more minutes had passed. She looked toward the pizza counter. There was no one there, including Nelson.

She sighed and rubbed her temples, then stole a glance of Lawrence. It was either that or scream like a banshee. She chose well.

She smiled, and when a plate of pizza suddenly appeared before her she yelped.

“Lunch is served.” Nelson placed his plate on the table and rubbed his hands together as he sat.

She stared at the two large slices of pizza topped with both black and green olives and banana peppers, and a garlic knot on the side.

“They had pizza like this ready?” She reached for the soda he placed next to her plate. Finally, she could take those aspirins, provided she found them.

“No, the pizza they had looked a little dried out, so I asked if they could make a couple fresh slices. They asked what I wanted, so l ordered your favorite, and I went and got Chinese.” He popped his straw from its paper and plunged it through the cup lid.

“Thank you.” How sweet of him to do all that. And to think she got all bent out of shape because he took a few minutes longer than she thought he should have.

She nibbled on the garlic knot and watched Nelson pour soy sauce into his wonton soup.

She loved him, yes. But there were times she wasn’t sure she was really in love with him. And there were even more times she had to convince herself she was.

She glanced toward the fountain. The table beside it was empty. She sighed, part dismay, part relief. She and Lawrence would cross paths again, just as they had
today and had so many times before. Soon enough, right or wrong, that certain smile would melt her heart again. But for now, Nelson did a pretty good job of it.

She bit into her pizza. By far the tastiest slice she ever ate. Not because of the expertise of who made it or the ingredients it was made with, but because of the thoughtfulness of who ordered it.

She smiled.

Nelson looked up from his soup. “You’ve got something between your teeth. A little black thing, right there.” He pointed to his own incisor and went right back to slurping his wontons.

She shook her head and chuckled. Eh, maybe she wouldn’t kill Nelson, after all.

Not today, anyway.

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