Response Crafting

“Orange juice [something]”

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She’s got collarbones with definition.

They are not just lines, but contours. They are not just the essence of a collarbone where a collarbone ought to be, but the body of the collarbone – the bone itself – pressed up against the skin from the other side of it. Just moments ago, I touched her skin just beneath this place. I don’t even know her name.

I want to buy her a drink. She already has one. This doesn’t matter.

And I’m calling to her, just as she turns to leave, getting one last moment’s attention: “what are you drinking?”

And she turns back and says something to answer, but all I hear is “orange juice.” As in: “orange juice [something.]”

“What?” I ask, shouting a little, squinting, turning my head a little as though that’ll help me hear.

She repeats herself, a little louder. “Orange juice [something.]”

I still have absolutely no idea what she said. I nod. “Okay!”

Because screw it. There can only be so many things made with orange juice at this place.

So I turn to the bartender and I’ve got half a dozen things I’m ordering for a few different people in my own group, and somewhere in there I order hers, and when I get to hers I hope for the best because all I have for him is “orange juice… something?” I try to look him in the eye when I say it – I say it straight up, you know what I mean? – and hope that he believes me when I eye him and try to tell him without words that I’m really not trying to be difficult.

“Yeah,” he says when he hears it, and then repeats back to me: “orange juice [something].”

“Orange juice what?” I don’t really care, but maybe it might matter in some future version of me, where I run into someone else who drinks an “orange juice [whatever]” at a bar.

He leans in a little, speaks a little louder. “Orange juice [something.]”

And I either can’t hear him or at this point I choose not to.

“Yeah.” I say, nodding. “That.”

Whatever.

He makes it along with the other however many drinks I’ve ordered, and I pay – maybe I tipped him; I certainly hope so – and I hand her her drink – it’s certainly orange – and then a friend and I walk away with that little triangle of cups in each of our hands.

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