The light has long since faded and the kitchen is bathed in grayish gloom. The boys wag their tails listlessly when we enter. Since he’s clearly not a toy, they’ve decided he’s some sort of couch, and have snuggled up around him.
I shoo them away and we kneel in a circle, Olivia on one side of his head, and me on the other. She leans way over and gives him a chaste peck on the forehead. Nothing happens. She tries his cheek. Again, nothing.
Leslie takes a deep breath and Marnie, next to Olivia, gives her a nudge. “Oh, just go for it. Put a big wet one on that beautiful sensitive mouth.”
She looks at me. “It’s worth a try,” I say.
But she hesitates. She smoothes his hair back from his face, caresses his cheek with the back of her hand. “I can’t believe you really did this,” she says. “All for me.”
Suddenly my throat is too thick to whisper anything but, “Happy birthday.”
She smiles at me then, and I believe she understands. She leans over and gently touches his mouth with hers, and then, imperceptibly, presses harder, until at last, it’s a kiss, a real kiss, and there on my kitchen floor, my fifty-year-old friend Olivia is actually kissing Johnny Depp, and as she pulls away and begins to open her eyes, he opens his.
We order out for pizza because we can’t imagine talking about what’s happened in public. The delivery man looks bewildered when Marnie grabs him in a bear hug as the announcement that Johnny Depp’s alive and well comes on the television, just as the poor guy's giving her change and positively worried when we all cheer.
Again, Olivia lingers after all the others have gone home. “All’s well that ends well,” I say as I hand her her pink pashima. “Johnny’s back on his set - our lives are back to normal - you’re going back to GianCarlo.”
But she’s quiet until she’s at the door.
“Aren’t you?” I ask. She’s been very quiet all night, I realize. And there’ve been no calls from GianCarlo.
“I’m going back to kiss GianCarlo,” she says. Johnny’s pillow is clutched to her chest, carefully wrapped. “To see if he makes me feel the way Johnny did. When I kissed him in the middle of your kitchen floor.”