“Know what I’ve noticed?” asked the Soupster as, across the restaurant table, his friend Gina crammed her face into a Chipotle chicken wrap. “There aren’t any power couples in Our Town.”
“Chowper Rusples?” Gina seemed to say, as a dollop of Chipotle slipped from her lip. The Soupster handed Gina his napkin.
“You know, power couples,” he said. “Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.” The Soupster had ordered the goat cheese and halibut-stuffed croissant.
“Rish Brusleandsh?” asked Gina, taking both the napkin and another bite.
“Yeah, like Brangelina,” said the Soupster with a chuckle. Then he turned mock-serious. “Gina, have you had anything to eat this century? You sure seem hungry.”
Gina quaked with silent laughter, attempting not to choke. She finished what was in her mouth and dabbed at the corners of her lips.
“Okay, okay,” she said. “Like Brangelina – no, Our Town doesn’t have any of those. Seems like all the well-known people in town come in one-person units. Not that they don’t have a spouse or partner back home. But only one is well-known. No Brangelinas, I’m afraid. Okay if I take another bite now?”
She did, as the Soupster said, “Well, I don’t think Our Town necessarily needs actual Brangelinas. I’m not arguing for Brangelinas. I’m just putting the idea out there.” He went to work on his halibut.
“No, I think I know what you mean,” said Gina. “I can hardly think of anybody who has a really prominent post, whose wife or girlfriend or boyfriend also has a really prominent post. Maybe it’s a “spread the wealth” thing that keeps any one couple from being, you know, too fancy dancy.” She bent her face back into her wrap.
The Soupster looked up from his halibut. “Or maybe a more like a `pitcher-catcher’ kind of thing. If you have two pitchers, there wouldn’t be a game.”
“Yin yang,” said Gina.
“Humpty Dumpty,” said the Soupster.
“What?” said Gina. “You made me think of Humpty Dumpty,” said the Soupster. “I don’t know why.”
Gina bit into her wrap. The Soupster bit into his croissant. The door of the restaurant swung open and in walked Calvin and Vanessa.
Still trim in their sixties, well-liked and always ready to lend a hand. They both smiled at Gina and the Soupster and sat down across the room. Calvin Bridges headed a successful contracting firm and Vanessa Bridges stayed home most days, creating a super-nest for the Bridges’ ever-growing troop of grand- and great-grand- Bridges. Calvin served on government and trade bodies in numerous capacities – for the state, and occasionally, even the nation, and for Our Town, mostly.
A lot of Vanessa’s public work came through her church. She could speak Portuguese and Farsi and was called to the Superior Court on occasion to translate. Cal was proud of his wife’s CPA, which she earned to help out at tax time. Cal once dumped a load of needed building materials outside the Animal Shelter anonymously (he thought). Vanessa cooked at ANB each year at one of the holidays, then at home for a big multi-generational splurge at the other.
Gina caught the Soupster’s eye and gave him a knowing look. She pointed her chin at the other couple. “Calvershmenda,” she said, leaking Chipotle again.
“Yeah, you’re right,” said the Soupster. “Calvanessa.”
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