There’s No Right Way to Say This – Yen Radecki

I shook my head and Marco made a sound so sudden it seemed involuntary.

“Don’t you guys think Jay’s family deserves to know who they’re mourning?”

“Look, maybe, but do you really think a wake is the right time for that conversation?”

“OK, so not when Jay’s dead, not when they’re alive — when exactly were you thinking?”

“Jesus fucking Christ, Marco,” Libbie snapped, finally lifting her eyes off the windshield. It was impossible to see from the angle of the passenger seat, but I imagine their eyes met, briefly, in the rear-view mirror. It was a good thing we were off the freeway. “What’s the matter with you?”

“The matter with me? I’m the only one who —”

“How about respecting Jay’s wishes?” It was Arjun, cutting through Marco’s hysterics with the practiced mildness of a physician. They’d shared a room together freshman year, while Marco was still hopped-up and over-compensating, doing lines in bed with hook-ups while Arjun studied econ in the bathtub. “If Jay didn’t tell them, I’m guessing there was a pretty good reason.”

“No shit, there was a reason; like maybe how their family are Westboro Baptist-level psychos, and you guys just want to let them get away with it?”

The mechanical femininity of the GPS interrupted with terse instructions to make a U-turn.

“Shit,” Libbie said, glancing between the display and the windscreen. “Marco—when did you last update this thing?”

In the sudden silence, Marco’s shrug was audible. Libbie heaved a sigh and steered the car off onto the side of the road, scraping to a sharp stop over the gravel.

“Has anyone got reception? I’m going to need someone to talk me through Maps since this GPS hasn’t been updated since Prohibition.”

“I’ve got one bar.”

“Here, I’ve got two.” Arjun held his phone over Libbie’s shoulder, and Libbie took it and passed it over to me.

“We need to turn around.”

“Terrific,” Libbie said, already guiding the battered Chevrolet back across the lane markings. “Now can we shelve the bullshit until we get there, please? There’ll be time for a pissing contest over who loved Jay best later.” There was a beat when nobody said what anyone was thinking, which was mainly that Libbie would come dead last in that contest, so of course she didn’t care when we held it.

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