The three students were sitting at the booth in the back of Puck’s. The cafe was never busy, but they always sat far away from everyone else. They sat there so often that the booth seemed to have their name on it. And indeed, Puck or Ariel, his little brother, would always have a banana split and a milkshake for Ophelia ready the instant they stepped through the door.
Hamlet and Ophelia had been coming since they were children, Polonius and Hamlet Sr. had thought it was a good idea to let their kids share time together. Horatio was invited once Hamlet had accidentally met him in a classics class in college. Now, the three were inseparable. Every Tuesday, when Ophelia was free, when Hamlet was just waking up, and when Horatio had just finished all his classes for the day, the three would find their way to Puck’s and share a large banana split.
They had been eating in silence for a few minutes when Ophelia brought up the topic.
“I think we should date.”
Hamlet and Horatio exchanged a look, attempting to understand exactly what their friend was saying. Half a semester into both their sophomore years of college and several years into their friendship with Ophelia, both were used to her many inventive ideas.
“Us?” Hamlet asked, pointing to himself and Ophelia.
“Yes,” Ophelia insisted, nodding her head and emphasizing her words as if she were talking to children. “And Horatio too.”
“Me?” Horatio stammered weakly, looking from Hamlet to Ophelia.
“Yes. It’s called polyamory,” Ophelia added, taking another sip from her milkshake.
“Isn’t that the mormon thing?” Hamlet questioned, leaning in.
“That’s called polygamy. This is polyamory. It’s more feminist,” Ophelia explained in her matter-of-fact way.
When neither of the boys responded, she sighed and continued,
“I would be dating you.” She gestured at Hamlet. “And you.” Now Horatio.
“And you two would be dating each other.”
“Yes,” Hamlet said. “But why?”
“Well, I like both of you two and you two both clearly like each other.”
“I don’t- I mean, he doesn’t- or I-” Horatio stammered, face red as the cherry on their ice cream.
Hamlet didn’t say anything.
“Well you can think about it,” Ophelia said, her mouth grinning into a sly grin. “You don’t have to say yes now. Plus,” she added. “You two should talk. Privately.”
And then she left, her milkshake empty on the table.