Wednesday, April 29, 2009

His and Hers - unfinished, continued


            His friends tried to reassure her. They even admitted to their hijinks the night before. But when no one had heard from him by nine-forty-five, even the closest of his best men started avoiding her eyes. She knew what they thought of her, and she heard in their whisperings the confirmation she didn’t really need.


            At first he wasn’t really worried, just angry with the guys and himself. Angry at the S.L.U.T driver who didn’t wake him up, and the yuppies with their Starbucks and Northface vests who looked at him like the crazy person he was sure he did look like as he ran down Pine Street barefoot and smelling like a wet dog. When did the goddamn city decide to remove all the payphones? He stopped, finally, breathing hard and with the realization that even if he found a phone, he had no one to call. He hadn’t memorized a phone number since tenth grade, and his parent’s old house number would do him no good now.


            She thought back to the day they met. She was working at Starbucks for a little extra cash, and he was being stood up by some study buddy. She made his caramel sauce latte and he told her she had beautiful eyes.  It was a slow day, too sunny outside for many customers, and he leaned on the counter and they talked for almost an hour. She loved the way his hair fell over his eyes and that he seemed interested in her opinions on local politics and corporate corruption. Even back then she liked to goad him – throw out an off hand comment about children of the rich and why fraternities were an outdated excuse for men to act like animals. She liked to watch his face get red while he tried to argue with her without getting upset.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

His and Hers - unfinished


            “Just my luck” is one of those phrases that is passed around by balding accountants, the perennially laid off, and those who just can’t seem to get a date. It was not something he would ever say, although to an onlooker, the phrase might just fit – provided he or she did not know the true impact of luck on that particular day.

            The morning after it happened, he analyzed every second of the day, every decision he had made, that those around him had made, and all the things he could have done differently, better, faster, all the things that could have changed the day he left his bride standing at the alter.



            She had the tendency to see what she wanted to see and hear what she wanted to hear. In fact, you could argue that he hadn’t actually proposed when he said they should be together forever, but nonetheless here she was - six months, four days and 19 hours later – silently fastening her veil. 



            Beautiful women were always approaching him, making small talk, smiling coyly, some even asking for HIS number.  And who could blame them – he knew he was a catch – ruggedly handsome, in reasonably good shape, well educated and funny.  Although they never said it, he knew his friends wondered why he was with someone so…quirky.  He’d be lying if he said he never wondered it himself, especially at times when she’d forget to shower for a few days, or lock her keys in her car for the upteenth time. But then she’d smile, and come up with some crazy fun idea involving soap in the neighbor’s fountain or sex on the hood of the car. A model she was not, but as they say, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder.  And he intended to hold her, for better or worse.



            They were supposed to get married at the University chapel, where they had met as seniors, both trying to find God and a job. Father Fred was officiating, his parents were hosting the reception at their home on millionaire row and her brother was her Man of Honor. She had been planning this day for months, and was excited, despite a deeply ingrained impulse to elope. She had begged him to disappear with her, to wed in a tiny Elvis chapel on their way down South to nowhere. She was sick of the rain, sick of frizzy hair and runny eye makeup.  But he loved the city’s shiny sidewalks and evergreen foliage and she loved him.  This is why she stayed, why she agreed to this happily ever after parade.



            They were playing a joke on him.  A half-hearted attempt at saving him from the ‘ole ball and chain. Guys being guys, messing around. That’s why they took his phone, his wallet and his shoes and put him on the South Lake Union Trolley. His last harrah, one last night as a free man, one last ride on the S.L.U.T. It’s true he shouldn’t have drank so much, especially the night before the wedding. But at the time it seemed like the thing to do – to get caught up in the moment, to take the shots being handed to him, to slur his words and admit cold feet, and let himself be led to the trolley stop.



            At first it was just a nagging feeling, a general queeziness that she chalked up to nerves.  But as each minute passed without a phone call, she became more and more convinced that it was really happening. Her greatest fear, her most secret anxiety was actually taking place. He was leaving her. He was leaving her for one of the trust fund beauty queens his mother was always throwing at him. She knew it in her heart, in her soul and now as the clock inched toward the 10 AM ceremony time, she knew it in her bones.



            It was 8 AM Saturday morning when he stumbled off the trolley at Pacific Place and first faced the reality that he might not actually be getting married that day.

Creative Inspiration from Ira Glass

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lunch (reworked)

It was a nice gesture, really it was - and its not like I get many massages. Truly, I'm sure Tom - or was it Todd? meant well when he presented me with a gift certificate to The Massage Boutique for their exclusive, fabulous, forty-five minute, patented "Luv Rub." Really Todd? The Luv Rub?

It was Friday, and I had narrowly escaped being fired when my boss caught me shopping - for a friend's bacchelorette party! - at a sex toy emporium online. That evening seemed as good as any to relax at the hands of some hunky masseuse surrounded by soothing whale sounds and an overpowering lavender air-freshening plug-in.

At the boutique, the skinny, blonde, all-black-wearing receptionist showed me to the relaxation room to wait for "Marquis." Why is it that all receptionists at salons and spas are blonde and skinny? Is it some kind of requirement? Is there a support group out there for beauty-treatment receptionist hopefuls to get together with drugstore boxes of Platinum Pretty and group-purge?

I undressed, awkwardly shimmied under the wash-cloth sized towel on the massage table, closed my eyes, and waited. When Marquis - who turned out to be an overweight sixty year old former apartment manager who lost his job when the complex was purchased by some housing conglomerate, and who's real name was Marty - arrived I had almost fallen asleep with my head in the slightly less than comfortable donut head rest.

Marty seemed nice enough, and even the devout Catholicism proclaimed by the three (Three!) crucifixes he wore around his neck didn't bother me too much. I settled in and tried not to care that my love handles probably looked even bigger than they normally were, squished onto the table under the rolling pin arm movements Marty was using on my back. Ah, bliss.

Not even two minutes into the forty-five minute massage however, the frozen burrito I had eaten for lunch decided it was time to wage war on my stomach. Oh My god. You'd have thought Mount Vesuvius was about to erupt again, or demolition had begun on Caesar's in Vegas, or at the very least I was about to have a monumental...moment. The thing was - I wasn't. Not at all. Even if I had acknowledged the problem like the adult I claim to be and excused myself and my little towel to the restroom, my insides were so tied up in knots, I don't think I could have found relief even there.

So I hid. Like a little girl playing hide and seek, I closed my eyes, forced my face to remain in the donut, and willed myself invisible.

God bless Marty for gracefully ignoring my obvious discomfort and refusing to short-change me; forty-three excruciating minutes later he left the room, and I prepared to dress as quickly as I could and get out of there without facing the smirking receptionist who by that time would surely have heard of (or OH GOD! had already been listening to) today's burrito.

With pants, shirt, shoes, and sunglasses on - bra and panties stuffed in my purse - I opened the relaxation room door and ran smack into Marty, who had been hovering, waiting for me to emerge. With a brief nod, he shoved a business card in my hand as I made a beeline for the door.

I was safely in my car, half-laughing, half-crying with embarrassment when I noticed the handwritten note on the back of Marty's business card: "To aid with digestion, drink warm water."