Fighting to surpress the look of disgust on his face, the man sat across from his friend and nodded. Biting his tongue, he pushed the food on the plate in front of him around idly, all the while listening to the bile across from him -- and wishing he wasn't.
The conversation had started off normal enough, simple catch up of two friends. They had laughed, recollecting a few good times back in their old glory days, and ordered a meal together. While the conversation hadn't slowed, it had abruptly taken a drastic turn after the mention of sex.
His foot tapping uncomfortably, he continued listening to the tales of cheating and sexual conquests. Face eager, the friends body leaned over the table towards him while a pun was made. Keeping his calm, he nodded and asked questions about the situations being described to him. Outwardly displaying interest, inwardly screaming as they listed off a number of items that he would never consider doing.
The waiter stopped at their table and held out a desert menu. Happy for any respite, the man engaged him in a light conversation on which items were his favorites. Unfortunately, the waiter was good at his job, listing each dessert quickly and readily offering commentary on each. As he walked away to place the orders, the conversation twisted back to its previous thread.
His plate empty, and drink on its last dregs, he forced himself to listen to explanations on how it was neccesary or the current living situation wouldn't work out. The exploitive nature of each story, and the smile as the friend delighted in describing a day spent jumping between lovers, pressed on his moral conscious. His own thoughts jumping between the times in the past when someone had cheated on him, and to when he had helped friends, including this one, get over relationships that had ended as described by the grinning fool across from him.
Yet he said nothing. Thinking of each person involved, how a few were aware and complacent in this tangled web of lust, he didn't feel as if it were his place to judge. Preferring to attempt to understand the justifications instead. Nodding in partial agreement to justifications that it was fine since most people involved knew of each other. He held his tongue as the fingers were counted on each hand; listing the methods of insuring that the lovers who thought they were exclusive would never know about the others.
The meal continued, the conversation switching between a myriad of subjects. But the previous discussion had drained him of any interest. What was supposed to be a happy event and time to catch up with a friend had turned into an exposition of immoral escapades. And until the two parted, he struggled to maintain the old connection. The shorn threads of a prior friendship dangingly on nothing more than ceremony and politeness. He waved goodbye as the car drove down the street, the sickly sweet smell of her perfume polluting the air around him.