New Year's Eve 2009
The crackling wood echoed in my Milano tile fireplace betraying the emptiness of my expansive colonial. I thought about adding another log to the dying flames, but in my depressed state, the five feet from the chaise to the fireplace was about four feet longer than I could bear to walk. I refused to budge for at least another two days. By then, the holidays would be over, and I could leave my house without suppressing the urge to rapid-fire BB pellets into the spectacle of inflatable Christmas decorations adorning every front yard in the neighborhood except mine.
My house looked as if Gale-force winds had blown out the windows. I hadn't cleaned in more than a week. The furniture exposed enough dust to grow crops, and the kitchen sink had all but disappeared beneath a mound of dirty dishes with a tilt reminiscent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Worse, I’d vegged on my chaise for so long the leather cushion resembled a foam memory pillow. But getting up was pointless, and I only had enough energy to R&R . . . rotate and reach for my snacks.
Critical life-sustaining provisions were positioned within an arm's length—one fresh box of Kleenex, a trash can, remote controls for all of the electronics, two bags of Ranch Doritos, one half-eaten bag of Cool Mint Oreos, approximately twenty-five dollars’ worth of Godiva truffles from a fifty-dollar box, an unopened bag of miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and an ice-cold bottle of Grey Goose, also half empty. My electric cooler parked near the chaise stored water and the cranberry juice that accompanied my Grey Goose. The bathroom was just off the kitchen, so I peed during my trailblazing journeys to the Sub-Zero.
The remote to the fifty-inch plasma suspended above the fireplace became adhered to my hand as I surfed for a benign comedy to watch without being reminded how pathetic and lonely I'd been. Fan-freakingtastic! When Harry Met Sally, While You Were Sleeping, and Bridget Jones's Diary. Jesus Christ. Once beacons of hope, those movies became sources of excruciating pain, not unlike natural childbirth. If I endured one more boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back, joy of Christmas, and all live happily ever after fairy tale, I might have slit my wrists and yelled, “Take me now!”
I flipped from channel to channel and paused to watch a Catholic mass. In a true testament to my mental funk, only after ten minutes did I realize the priest was conducting mass in Latin. My exhaustive Latin vocabulary consisted of semper fi (always faithful) and caveat emptor (buyer beware), so I wouldn't find much consolation unless he mentioned one of the two.
At last, I settled on a rerun of Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys. Now, that was a happy thought, my only happy thought of the day—an island somewhere between East Jabib and West Cucamonga to send my defective and unwanted shit. If only an Island for Misfit Boyfriends existed, I'd next-day-air Marcus's sorry ass there.
Before Marcus—and after my heart got stomped, trampled, and kicked for the umpteenth time—I prayed to God and asked Him, “Please send me a man who'll love me enough to never let me go.” Ironically, I forgot to pray that he would make me happy. I forgot to pray that he wouldn't be a selfish, lying, cheating bastard. Oh, but God has a sense of humor, doesn't He? He answered my prayer with comical precision and sent my “blessing”—Marcus Matthews. A man who never made me happy, a man who always cheated and lied, but a man who wouldn't let me go. God mocked me, saying, “Don't tell me how to do my job.”
Score one for Him.
When God has a sense of humor, floating random prayers up there is risky business, especially when the small print on answered prayers includes a “No Refunds, No Returns” clause.
On Christmas Day, I snatched the small, well-deserved Tiffany & Co. box containing Marcus's most recent guilt offering from his paws and told his dumb ass for the trillionth time our relationship was over, finished, finito, buh-bye, move on. His reply? “So, where do you want to go for dinner?” I wanted to scream, “Fool, is something wrong with your hearing? It's over!”
Instead, I made him take me to Maggiano's for Italian.
I'm a full-figured, size fourteen; I don't pass up free meals.
I never understood the term full-figured. Are skinny women empty-figured? I guess full sounds better than fat. I stuck it to him though. I ordered two of the most expensive dishes: the manicotti for my right butt-cheek and the filet mignon for my left. Despite my size, I believed eating a balanced diet was important. Once upon a time, a yummy dinner would have earned him a coochie coupon, but those days were long over.
Marcus was my most recent “the one”—you know, the title all we desperate-to-be-loved women give to the one-in-a-million, once-in-a-lifetime, love-of-my-life superhero guy we hope God sent to rescue us from our miserable, single existence.
Yeah, I'd had five of them.
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