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Unseasonably warm. It’s the only way you can describe how the park felt that day. It was grounds for taking the afternoon off or, at the very least, taking an extended lunch. On the heels of her email soliciting input for the bachelorette party, only Katie took up Caroline’s feeler that someone join her for lunch at the Whole Foods hot bar.
As they sat in the park dressed in their business casual, they yearned for this sort of day to exist on a Saturday that could be spent on a patio rather than a Wednesday that would see them trudging back to the office a little sweatier than they left it.
“Lemme see what you got,” Caroline requested, leaning over and hovering over Katie’s cardboard to-go container.
Tilting her meal toward Caroline, she explained with a meh tone that it was “just some miso sweet potatoes and chorizo over spinach.” Caroline had opted for something lighter in an effort to pay less at the register but still managed to exceed the ten-dollar mark by getting an overpriced Maple Water.
Both picking at their meals while scrolling their phones, an email appeared on Katie’s screen.
“Did you see both Victoria and Megan voted for Tulum?” she asked.
“I mean, yeah,” Caroline said, awkwardly yet visibly put off. “Liiiiike, what are your thoughts?”
Katie kept scrolling and finally responded after a ten-second pause. “I’ve never been to Tulum. Do they have mosquitos there? Finn and I might start trying soon and I don’t exactly need Zika in my life right now.”
“It’s probably primed for Zika, honestly,” Caroline said in hopes that Katie would pile on.
“Meh, I feel like I haven’t heard about it lately so it’s not that big of a deal,” Katie told her. “Let’s just do Tulum — we’re planning it far enough in advance that it won’t be that expensive.”
“Yeah,” Caroline sighed. “I guess.”
There was clearly something up, yet Katie wasn’t entirely sure she wanted to ask given that their lunch was already running late and her absence as Maid of Honor made her not want to get overly invested in the planning of such events.
“You okay?” she finally asked in an attempt to clear the air.
“I meannnnnnnnnnn,” Caroline drew out. It was the typical response for when things weren’t okay, so Katie put her phone down in preparation for whatever was on her mind.
“Is it dumb that I don’t want her to do Mexico for her bachelorette party?” Caroline asked coyly. “Like, we did Cabo for mine and I feel like we’re going to make a big to-do about her bachelorette and it’s going to overshadow mine.”
Katie took her plastic fork and stared down at her half-eaten meal. She was partially wondering if it was worth bringing her leftovers back to the office while also trying to formulate a response for such a petty question.
“Well,” she said before letting out a breath. She was clearly preparing to tell Caroline something she didn’t want to hear, and Caroline braced herself for it. “Not to give you a heavy dose of reality, but does it really matter?”
“What do you mean?” Caroline inquired while squinting her eyes. It was not the response she was looking for.
Trying to gather her thoughts, Katie adjusted how she was sitting and started again. “Okay, like, Cabo and Tulum are two completely different places. Like, completely different sides of Mexico.”
“I know, but like,” Caroline tried to weigh in.
“I know you don’t want to hear this but wouldn’t it just be selfish to try and downplay her bachelorette party just because you did something similar?” Katie spitballed. “Does that make sense?”
Caroline shamefully looked down and locked her phone after receiving a “how’s lunch?” text from John. “I get what you’re saying, but I just feel like I did it first and she should try to do something else.”
Katie sighed once again. Not out of frustration, but because she wasn’t exactly sure of how to explain the situation to Caroline without pissing her off. “Saying that she can’t do something for her wedding because you already did it would just be trivial,” she further explained. “That would be like saying she can’t have a diamond engagement ring because you have a diamond engagement ring. Like, I don’t think she sat there and looked at your Insta and thought ‘I’m going to do Tulum because she did Cabo.'”
“But I,” Caroline stuttered, “I… IDK. I just don’t want it to look like she’s doing what I did, only better, you know?”
“I mean, I get that,” Caroline chimed in, “but at the end of the day, it’s reallllly not the same. Anyone in their right mind would look at our Instas from Tulum and not associate them with our Instas from Cabo last year because they’re completely different.” Deep down, Katie wanted to say that they’d probably be better this time around because they wouldn’t just be spending time at Caroline’s dad’s basic timeshare and they all had a much better grasp on their aesthetics since they all downloaded and mastered VSCO.
“I’m being selfish, aren’t I?” Caroline asked, visibly not wanting to hear the answer she knew was coming.
Wanting to give Caroline the answer she wanted and not the answer she deserved, Katie opted for the latter. “I mean, yeah, you’re being kind of petty and selfish, honestly.”
Caroline slumped over a bit.
“I can see where you’re coming from,” Katie assured her, “but if you’re going to spend all your time worrying about how her wedding is going to look in comparison to your wedding, you’re going to drive yourself crazy. Thinking in those terms is toxic and meaningless and — at the end of the day — not really worth your emotional energy.”
“I know,” Caroline admitted. “I get it.”
“At the end of the day, she was your Maid of Honor and you’re her Maid of Honor, so you kind of need to be a little more supportive and less catty than you’re being right now,” Katie continued.
Caroline leaned back and tilted her head back to get more sun. “You’re right,” she acknowledged. “I should’ve never brought it up; none of this is justified and I think I… I don’t know, I think I just don’t want people to think she’s better than me because she came along after and did a better job with her entire wedding after I set the bar.”
“I see where you’re coming from but you’re never going to be the first or last person to get married and have a bachelorette,” Katie said hoping the conversation would end sooner than later so she could head back to work and get in the comfort of her office’s air conditioning.
“So Tulum?” Caroline asked, picking up her phone to see the original emails Victoria and Megan had sent.
“Yeah,” Katie told her, “That’s what everyone wants so let’s just do it. No one’s going to think it’s weird we’ve done both, I promise. And anyone who does is just, like, stupid and trying to stir the pot.”
Each putting lids on their Whole Foods containers, they began picking up their belongings and putting them back in their handbags to prepare for another afternoon wasted in their offices rather than day-drinking rosé on a patio. As they stood up and brushed the grass off their butts, Caroline gave an unexpected shout of laughter that wasn’t in line with how the rest of the lunch went.
“Oh my GOD,” she belted out. “Look at this photo Alex just posted of Trip for his birthday.”
Katie leaned over and put her hand over Caroline’s phone to shield it from the sun. “Holy shit,” she said, “That’s awful. Was that photo taken in 2011 on an iPhone 4? Did she use Valencia?”
“Should we tell her to take it down before more people see it?” Caroline joked. “We can’t have our friends posting shit like this.”
Katie laughed before responding, “I don’t know, that filter is fucking egregious.” .