Lisa had more verve than anyone had a right to. In a perverse way, I semi-secretly wanted to set her up with Nick because I knew that she would literally exhaust him. That would bring me great pleasure: to see something (or someone) wear him out. Nick was one of those people who seemed overly-caffeinated, even at night.
I could not be mad at Nick. Not mad at him in the usual way of divorced people, I mean. There was no other woman lurking stereotypically in the shadows, no shocking confession of homosexuality, no mid-life crisis, no sudden health scare. Christ, we were only 26 when we divorced, we had plenty of time to open up a … what is it called …
“New chapter,” enthused Lisa, while scavenging through my dried-out lipsticks. “You need to start over. What’s it been now, over two and a half years?”
“Three years and one month,” I corrected.
I was not up to the task of a “new chapter.” I liked the old chapters, the ones Nick and I had written together. Although Nick had been the one to initiate the divorce thus breaking my trusting heart into a thousand impossible shards, I still harbored a deep love for him. Ah, absence does not make the heart grow fonder—rejection does.
“… and then he told her he got fired! Can you believe it? On their first date!” Lisa laughed heartily at the punchline of her own joke.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Michelle, are you even listening to me? Geesh. How about this black silk camisole? Look—it still has the tags attached. Try it on.” She reached into my closet and handed me the familiar garment; I immediately began to cry.
“I can’t wear that,” I sniffled, “I bought it to wear for Nick, and the night I was going to wear it, he announced our separation.”
Lisa balled up the camisole, hanger and all, and shoved it in the trash basket.
“Well, we don’t need memories like that inhabiting your closet, do we?” she said efficiently, as she wiped her hands together, as if she had just assassinated a particularly troubling military foe instead of merely tossing away an offending piece of fabric.
“Lisa, go without me tonight.” I pulled my greasy hair back into a ponytail in my hands and knotted it together with a stray rubber-band. “I’m sorry. I am, really.”
Lisa put her hands on her hips, a mannerism I had seen Lisa’s mother do countless times when we were growing up.
“Michelle, he’s out there! Husband #2 is out there, waiting for you. But he’s never going to find you here—” she paused and made a sweeping hand gesture toward the living room, like the girl on The Price Is Right, “—while you’re holed up watching re-runs of Will & Grace.”
At his moment, I hated Lisa and all that she stood for. What romantic fairy tales did she subscribe to? I was going to meet Prince Charming in a … bar???
“I’m not saying you’ll meet Prince Charming tonight, in a bar,” this was an unnerving trait Lisa possessed, the ability to read my mind with eerie accuracy, “what I am saying is this: You will never find a guy while you sit at home. Think of it as exercise for your dating muscles. You are training for the marathon of finding the right guy, and let me tell you, he is not going to knock on your door while you are home alone watching TV.”
She picked up her sequined purse and walked out the front door, which she slammed. She was trying to be dramatic, but she forgot her car keys. She came back in.
“Think about what I said, Michelle, you know I’m right.”
She left for good, and I clicked on the TV. An episode of Will & Grace was just ending. I noticed that Will looked slightly green, so I scribbled a Post-It note to myself:
Buy new TV. Call cable guy. Tomorrow!!
I underlined “tomorrow” and added exclamation points to make it seem more official, like a vow. I, Michelle Norris, do solemnly swear to have and hold you, and to keepeth my love for your remote control as long as we both shall live. Amen.
The following week, my apartment had one new TV, one new remote, and I was having a sexy little flirting session with the very hot cable guy from Venezuela.Do I even need to tell you that we dated for eight steamy months before we eloped? Lisa was my Maid of Honor, and while she smiled at me taking my vows, I remembered her silly warning:
You will never find a guy while you sit at home.
Thank you to the brilliantly talented Youngman Brown for the invitation. And thank you to Dude Write for allowing a “Dudette” to submit a story. I am honored. And humbled. And maybe a little bit drunk. But mostly honored.