Tag Archives: relationships

Pizza Hut or Bust(ed face)

“Real Love is a Sphere,” Jedd Evan texts to me, haiku-style, today.  “The center is everywhere/Circumference, nowhere.”   I’m inclined to agree with him. This is a man who fashioned a bed out of three stacked air mattresses duct-taped to one another and thinks a viable meal is warm Ragu straight out of the saucepot, consumed while huddled over the stove armed with a plastic ladle.  While some girls would insist on a bed frame and some actual dishes, I find him rife with illimitable charm.

We had been planning a trip to the Pizza Hut buffet for several weeks, and we had finally agreed on a date and time.  We were to get up at 9am on Tuesday and run our bank, post office, grocery and hardware store errands in backwards order all the way down Franklin Street. This would put us at Pizza Hut at 1pm, giving us one precious hour to turboload at the Buffet.  Of course, we didn’t actually wake up until 12:45, so we just piled into the car in our pajamas and sped off.   It was raining so hard I couldn’t see ten feet past the windshield.   After a few blocks, I realized I had left my instant coffee on the roof, so in my sleepy rainy brain haze, I slammed on the brakes in the middle of the street and Jedd jumped out to retrieve it.  In his haste to get back into his seat, he opened the door into his face, and a 2-inch gash immediately formed above his right eye.

He produced an old, dusty roll of paper towels from the back seat and used some to stop the bleeding while I drove erratically, hyperventilating with terror and concern.  He clearly needed stitches.  My panic almost propelled me into a tree and several other cars in the vicious storm.

“We HAVE to go home you are BLEEDING,” I gasped.

“NO!! TO PIZZA HUBUFFAY,” he slurred, pressing on the paper towel that was quickly becoming saturated with his blood and what I imagined to be bits of his brilliant brain matter.

“NO.  WE ARE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL!”

“NOOOO I AM FINE I’M APPLYING PRESSURE!”

“FINE THEN!  SCREW PIZZA HUT, WE ARE GOING to BUY SOME THINGS TO CLEAN YOU,” I said, heading to the store next to the Pizza Hut, and though I tried to slip past it, hoping the rain would shield it from my now-half-blind patient, he saw it anyway.

“THAT IS TH’ PIZZAHUBUFFAY GO THERE IT IS 1:17,” he yelled, demonstrating his unflagging devotion to soggy breadsticks and cheese from a ten gallon bucket.

“NO we are going to the FIRST AID AISLE of the ROSE’S,” yet while I was admonishing him for his inability to prioritize, I was simultaneously turning into the Pizza Hut parking lot because I really just want him to have what he wants at all times.

Before I even removed the key from the ignition, he had exited the vehicle and bounded up to the door of the Pizza Hut, already soaking wet and holding this ridiculous paper towel to his head to keep his brains in.  I thought I was going to cry.  I followed him into the restaurant only to face a cold, empty, decidedly pizza-free stainless steel buffet.

“Where, we. . .um. . .we need the Lunch Buffet?” He said, on the verge of tears.

“Oh we don’t do no buffet no more,” some giant, beleaguered woman nonchalantly offered over her shoulder as she lumbered over to the lone table of patrons in the corner of the grimy dining room.  With my two working eyes, I glared at my retreating archnemesis, and her enormous tent of a uniform shirt whose color exactly matched the burnt orange countertops. With his one working eye, Jedd Evan blinked at the space where the buffet would have been.

I ushered him back to the car and we headed to the Rose’s, which is sort of a poor-man’s discount K-Mart, if the K-Mart was built in a shanty, super-trashy, in a perpetual state of final clearance, staffed with a combination of dubiously-behaving socially-retarded teenagers and middle-aged, divorced, obese women with teased hair, and sold plus-size underwears out of a giant bin for one dollar, tax included.  I love Rose’s and I constantly find excuses to go there, and what’s more, there was a Chic-Fil-A next to it.  Score.

I deposited Jedd Evan in the first aid aisle and went off to the clothing section in search of a hoodie.  I located a gray one for six dollars and headed back to retrieve my patient.  I found him calmly surveying the shampoo situation while he folded his bloody paper towel into eighths and sixteenths and thirtyseconds.  He was manning a basket full of canned soup, Band-Aids, Peroxide, A-1 Sauce, tiny superglue, more canned soup, a pack of t-shirts, an air freshener shaped like a tree, a stack of metal forks, and a small area rug.  This was not supposed to be a shopping trip.  This was supposed to be a hospital proxy.

When we approached the check-out, the cashier immediately identified a problem with Jedd Evan’s face and offered the Rose’s fitting rooms as a substitute triage.  He selected his tools from the pile.  Band-Aids, check.  Peroxide, check.  Superglue, check.  Wait.  WHAT?  But he was already gone.  I really took issue with the inclusion of Superglue in his surgical repertoire, but I was silent as I watched him head for the fitting rooms.

But he did not go to the fitting rooms.  No.  Instead, he plopped down in the middle of the Homewares section and used Rose’s collection of $5 full-length plastic-framed mirrors as a suitable place to fix himself.  Almost immediately, the intercom crackled with a plea for security to tend to “Section E, Area 4, Code Blue,” which I could only interpret as the code for, “A Wet, Bleeding Man is Currently Repairing his Gaping Head Wound with Our Discount Adhesives in Bedroom Décor.”

With a resigned sigh I settled into an armchair, its “Final Sale” tag digging into my forearm, and waited.  He emerged, smiling and bandaged, and we still managed to have a nice lunch at the Chik-Fil-A. It’s amazing how good waffle fries taste after a brush with death.

Though I really did not want his wound to become infected and cause him more, very expensive trouble, I knew it was the only way my panic and alarm would be justified.  But I, too, am wrong every once in a great while.  In under 24 hours, his head looked perfectly fine, the gash reduced to a scab under an inch long.  Apparently Superglue is okay to use in lieu of actual medical attention, and he knew it.  Real love is a sphere, he said, and he’s right.  My instinct to protect him did not allow me to trust his guerilla medicine.  I should just focus on finding other ways to show I care, so I suppose my next move is to track down a Pizza Hut with an actual buffet.

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Are you there, Laurie Domangue? It’s me, Mandey.

Dear Laurie.

My name is Mandey Brown.  My friends call me Amanda.  I like to draw, paint, write, read, and people-watch.  I graduated from Nicholls State University in 2002 with a degree in Sociology.  Then I went to welding school for fun.  I am 5’6″ and I have red hair and green eyes.  Sometimes my eyes are gray, but only when I am on public buses.  I moved to Chapel Hill in 2005 and I bought a bar a few months ago.  I’m trying to learn how to give a shit about money, because it’ll be important soon I’m sure.

I am constantly surrounded by tons of beautiful guys with terribly impressive talents.  I do not date much at all.  My favorite food is soft shell crab, and my least favorite food is mayonnaise.  The other day I was on an outing with a guy named Jonny, and, upon learning that he was rendered unable to consume mayonnaise due to an egg allergy, I felt an overwhelming urge to kiss his untainted mouth right over my miso soup.  I successfully fought it.

I love reality TV.  I watched all of “Rock of Love, Season 1,” in two sittings.  I accurately predicted the winner.  I cried during “Undercover Boss,” because so many people’s lives are so hard and they don’t even complain.  I’m obsessed with Snookie though I’ve never seen “Jersey Shore.”  I am currently on Episode 8 of “The Hills.”  I hate the facial hair on Lauren’s boyfriend.  I hate the grainy cinematography.  I hate the show, but as soon as I get home, I will finish out the season and yearn for the next one.

I wish I went horseback riding more often.  I wish I’d learned to swim.  I never go to the doctor, really.  I’m terrified that I have cancer and I do not know it.  I’ll never go find out.  I feel fine. I have an equal love for both melted cheese and Panic! At The Disco.

I check Craigslist Missed Connections every day, but I no longer scan the posts for my name.  Now, I look for my workplaces.  I believe this is a sign that I am growing up.  I want to know who is bonding over burritos or falling in love over Golden Tee.  I want it all to stay lonely and perfect.

I am not lonely or perfect.

I keep telling myself those things, but they sort of cancel each other out.

I recently joined an online meetup group devoted to people who wanted more adventure out of life.  When I realized it was actually a singles group devoted to the art of Speed-dating, I deleted my account.  I immediately received a personal email from the group organizer begging me to reconsider my decision to leave.  The last line from the Singles And Proud coordinator was a very solemn, desperate, “Please don’t go.”  I laughed at the irony of this as I straightened my hair to go out for a solo night on the town.  Then I stopped because I realized I was not entirely sure this was an example of irony.  I was embarrassed in front of my own reflection in the mirror while I tried to recall the scene in “Reality Bites” where Ethan Hawke starts his phone conversation with, “Welcome to the winter of our discontent,” and then tries to explain irony to a slack-jawed Winona Ryder.  Then I vowed to always answer the phone this way.  Then I immediately forgot, and answered my next incoming call with, “Wuddup, Fucker?”

My mom understands me more than anyone.  I have never needed anyone more than I need my dad.  My brother impresses the shit out of me.  I wish I could be my more beautiful, more carefree, more REAL younger sister for just one day.  I love my nephew so much it physically pains me.  I have never met anyone quite like Christopher Lee Plummer.  One day I will find Nancy and grab her and shake her because I’ve never met anyone more beautiful in so many different ways than her, and sometimes I think she doubts that.  I can read it in her status updates on Facebook, and I want to throw my laptop across the room.  My laptop is so out of memory and so pissed at me that I’m pretty sure one day it will just give up and blow up and disappear into a little puff of smoke like the TVs in “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”  Secretly, I’d like to videotape that.  In reality, though, I know I should just learn to work the external hard drive my dad got me for Christmas.

I collect art supplies.  I am terrified to use them because then they will be gone, and I won’t have them anymore in case inspiration strikes sometime later.  Therefore, my house is one giant messy cluttered horrible thrilling fire hazard of an art studio.  Sometimes I eat an entire pint of ice cream in front of that show “Hoarders” just so I can feel a little better about myself.  It works every time.

I play pool all the time and I’m only getting worse.  I basically only drink whiskey on the rocks, and that hasn’t changed since college, but sometimes I wish they put little umbrellas in those kinds of drinks.

Lazy homeless people piss me off.   I have only audibly farted in front of a human being twice in my adult life.  I have four archenemies in this town, and only one of them actually knows who I am.  My favorite joke is:

“What is red and not there?”
“No tomatoes.”

I smoke more cigarettes than I should.  I don’t smoke enough weed, but that’s because my smoking buddy just got a really hot girlfriend and I don’t blame him for spending all his time with her instead.  I would.  I have amassed a considerable scarf collection and now I can match one to every outfit I concoct.  I hate what I look like naked, but not in a self-conscious way.  It’s hard to explain.

My favorite color is royal purple.  I work very hard on a social commentary blog, but barely anyone reads it.  I judge people by what shots they order.  I speak fluent kitchen spanish.  I own a life-sized cardboard cutout of Justin Beiber and an oversized fleece throw featuring his giant face, but I have no idea who he is or what his music sounds like.

It’s this last bit that made you uncertain about what sort of person I have become in the eleven years since we’ve hung out.  I hope this letter sheds some light on who I am.  I guess I’ll write you another one when my personality develops a little further.  Until then, this’ll have to do.

Love,

Mandey.

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Humble Yes-Man

It’s not that I’m a bad catch.  I’m kind and sometimes funny and I posses useful kitchen utensils and running water and other trappings of success.  I own a business and a vehicle and access to the internet.

It doesn’t generally bother me that I’m the sort of person who will sit at a bar and eat an entire pint of ice cream with a plastic knife in under nineteen minutes, letting it drip stickily on my twin social barriers of iPod and crossword puzzle.

I must admit that I have a devastatingly peripheral, meaningless obsession with a man with more important things on his mind than my presence at the bar.  I can’t overlook the fact that he purposefully turns away from me when he stands next to me to order a beer.  It doesn’t hurt me; he is equal parts stunningly memorable and instantly recognizable from behind thanks to his haircut, or lack thereof.  He looks like Serpico and in my Fantasy-World, I’d barge into his personal space and present him with a leather vest and a bucket hat and a cotton-fringed poncho and parade him around town only stopping our crime solving to leap into the air, grainy fist raised in self-adulation, frame freezing with inches of air under our feet.  My minimal efforts to communicate with him have both been met with a supreme display of disinterest that would rival any crooked cop’s attendance at an ethics seminar.

What happens when artists and dreamers collide?  I pay very close attention to the goings-on of the house around the corner from me.  It is inhabited by Jack and Ruby, two quiet, local hipsters with a shared penchant for domesticity. On a daily basis, I am afforded seven blissful seconds when I pass them on my way to and from various jobs.  I was there when Jack and Ruby donned t-shirts and jeans and painted their house a brilliant turquoise.  I was privy to their tomato planting last April, my drive-by occurring at the very moment they were erecting a large hand-fashioned trellis that matched the cream-colored trim on their newly painted home.  When they brought a picnic basket onto their front lawn, I was there even though, at that moment, they weren’t even aware that they lived on a busy through-street.  My favorite glimpse, however, was the time I turned the corner and Jack was sitting on a stool on the front porch dressed in a smock with Ruby giving him a haircut.  A boombox was playing.

The world is an amazing place.  I like to watch it unfold around me, sitting at a bar with my headphones on and my crossword puzzle going and my ice cream and my plastic knives.  I’m actually quite infamous for my behavior at bars.  Last night a man approached me at Bowbarr and said these words, “I’m, like, totally married and shit but remember you got stumped on your puzzle like a month ago?  The answer to ‘Dickens humble Yes-Man’ is Uriah Heep.”  That’s right.  He totally did that.

There is a staggering difference between being alone and being lonely.  But no matter how alone you feel, there’s always someone paying attention, whether it’s someone dressing you up in movie costumes in their mind or someone looking up the answer to 24-Down and keeping it in the back of theirs until they see you again.
Alone together with You,
Mandey.

Not interested.

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To Wed? Or Not, Instead?

Dear Adam Powers,

I just got off the phone with my lovely Grandma.

The first thing she said when she realized who she was talking to was, “I gotta get off my CELL PHONE and git on tha REGULA’ phone I cain’t HEAR YA.”

She does not have a cell phone. She thinks her cordless phone is a cell phone.

The next thing she said was, before any sort of greeting, was, “DO YA HAVE A BOYFREN?”

No, Grandma. The answer has been “No” for years.

“HOWZABOUT CHOICH?”

“Choich” means “church,” in her lovely Southern Louisiana accent, and she wants to know if I have found one in Norf Carolina yet.

No, Grandma. Choich is a place to compare clothing.

She proceeded to tell me all about my cousins and their babies and husbands, which I recognize as a thinly veiled attempt to make me feel guilty. I am the oldest unmarried, childless female in my family, and everyone is baffled as to why I am having such a hard time finding a rich dude to knock me up and make me the thrilled kept woman they know I’d love to one day be. I caught the bouquet at my cousin’s wedding five years ago, and they have not forgotten. I didn’t mean to catch it. I was trying to swat it away from me in a panic. It was aimed for my face.

My extended family’s collective relationship track record is less than inspiring. My Uncle Pat, Grandma’s son, is my favorite.

I remember he bought a Dodge Neon years ago, and he called all his family members and told us about the fabulous view he had from the windshield. “I mean, I really made a good purchase. Worth every penny,” he told us. How lucky was he to have bought a car that would allow him such great visual interaction with the highway vista?

Uncle Pat has been married five times. Want the rundown?

1. Suzen: He knocked her up when she was 15. They were married for six months. Suzen died a few years later in a house fire. Thank god she didn’t survive, because she would have gone to jail for arson and attempted murder. She was trying to burn down the house so she could kill her boyfriend, Smiley. Smiley wasn’t even home.

2. Rosemary Mosby was next. She was the alcoholic daughter of a Mississippi millionaire. Miss Mosby had a bowling alley in her house. They were married for seven months, and then my uncle left her which prompted her to overdose with a quickness.

3. Doris was the half Chinese alcoholic lesbian who married Pat so she could breed. They were actually married for five years. And yes, they bred.

4. Crystal. Oh, Crystal. Another five year marriage. I actually met this one. Crystal was an overweight Merry Maid with a weird face rash thanks to an Ajax mishap. Crystal had a habit of “entertaining” all of the (male) neighbors, and one day Pat came home to find an empty house. And when I say empty, I mean no wife, no clothes, no furniture, and no note. Crystal talked very loud in movie theaters. She was under the impression that she was the only one within earshot of her overbearing, nasally, grating, nonsensical Yat dialect.

5. Marisol. Marisol was a prostitute who would perform oral sex on policemen for cash, which she would spend on coke. Pat told me once that every time he and Marisol had sex, he would leave five dollars on the night table before he left for work. He thought this was hysterical. She tried to steal his Neon once. Apparently that was not hysterical. So he hit her upside the head with the business end of a hammer. They, um, got divorced after that.

So his marriages sucked. But damn, he had a great view from his windshield every time he drove away from one.

So yeah. I’m all for gettin’ hitched. But that shit terrifies me.

I’ll talk to you later buddy. I have a busy day planned. I’m gonna sit in my house, alone, thinking how nice it is that there’s no one to fight with.

Love,

Mandey.

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Deadlier Than The Male: Worried Bacon Pt. 1

Dear Ponyboy,

Look at this worried bacon:

Do you see him? Isn’t he cute? I traded five dollars for him at Comic Con in Brooklyn a couple months ago. He has brightened my life in so many ways. I am not sure why he is worried but if you click on this sentence, you can see more of him.

You’ve seen him in my room. I know you have. He sits on the ghetto shelf above my bed, the one that I affixed to the wall with a staplegun and the wrong sized carpenter bracket? That one, yeah. The shelf where if you put your cigarettes on it, it falls down? The shelf, I am sorry to inform you, can and will only support the weight of Worried Bacon. His troubles are so heavy.

I don’t mind that you’ve never made mention of him, though I am sure you’ve wanted to. But you’re so quiet that I did not expect you to waste words on a Beleaguered Pork plush toy.

I know I promised I’d never write about you, and I’m not really doing it now, really, if you think about it. I’m only talking about your proximity to my belongings. I was thinking the other day that everything in my room represents a person or a place in my life. No space is wasted, though I know you think I’m a packrat, a clutterbug.

I was looking around, trying to pair you up with something in my room. Something, I was sure, something would symbolize you in an appropriate manner.

The beer stein full of matchbooks from Korean stripclubs? No. They don’t really mean “You.” You just wanted to use them as props for your circa-70s Spy Movie. Throw in the cigarette butts lying on the floor and we have “Scene 2: Abandoned Bedroom in the Throes of Squalor and Memory.”

The bathroom wallpapered with pages torn from a Salvador Dali picture book? No. You’re a much better artist than him, and I feel SO weird saying that, but it’s true. When you draw, you make me cold. Does that make sense?

The antique typewriter? I thought about this for a minute, because you’re writing movies and all, but you don’t use a typewriter and you’re certainly not old.

Maybe the styrofoam cups full of all your spare change, to remember the time when we sat down on the floor with my Battery-Operated-Magical-Spare-Change-Sorter and proceeded to absolutely ignore it, dump all your earnings onto the floor, and sort it by hand? Nah. Representative of time spent with you, but really you’re more well-contained than several separate cups of loose nickels and dimes.

So I settled on the Worried Bacon, because it’s my favorite thing in the room, or at least it’s in my Top 5. And when you’re in my room too, slathering Calamine all over yourself to cure sunburn, or squinting your eyes at me in the harshest of ways, or judging my squalor, or laughing self-consciously at an unfunny joke I just made, or inspecting my ankle for signs of a sprain, or being pissed that I keep trying to cook corndogs for you, so are you.

Are you aware that I cannot stand for you to be uncomfortable, even though you can’t stand for me to try to be helpful? That I am a warrior, a mercenary, an indentured servant put upon this earth to get up while it’s still dark outside and make coffee and ensure that you are covered with a blanket at all times while you sleep? You’re aware that I recognize worry and consume it ruthlessly, right? That I dispose of drama, transform it into a comestible, and do away with it upon sight?

Keep it in mind, loverboy. I am Deadlier Than The Male. Click it and weep. You haven’t got a chance against me and my mental harpoon.

Love,

Calamity Jane.

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Sie Werden Kapitulieren.

 

Dearest Rakim:

I hope you don’t mind me using an anagram of your name to write this letter. I wouldn’t want it to be purloined in transit and exploited in any way. I don’t know what I would do if I saw the contents of this letter staring up at me from a filthy gutter, or, even worse, posted on the internets for everyone to see. Being that you are a worldly, learned man yourself, and you know the myriad ways humans’ random acts of unkindness manifest themselves in this digital age, I trust you understand my concern, and that you know in my heart that I do, in fact, remember your real name.

That aside, I want to thank you for gracing me with your presence the other night. When you and your companion entered the bar, it was like a breath of fresh air. A nice breath of spicy, exotic, well-dressed, West Indian fresh air with unparalleled muscle tone and a thousand watt smile. I very rarely believe in love at first sight, but your easy, welcoming small talk and your flawless genetic material had me wishing you would father my children. Ten or eleven of them.

Your companion, an older woman, was beautiful and spunky, probably in her mid-fifties but dressed in a fun, young, classy way. Her hair was blond and spiked, and she was so full of life and love and confidence. You told me you had just flown in from Texas and were attending one of her seminars at UNC. I learned that she was your aunt and the widowed president of the S_____ Institute Her husband, T_____ S_____, had passed away in 1997, leaving his spiritual empire in the hands of this brassy, tough woman in the hopes that she would continue to teach his life-affirming dogma and keep his legacy alive by working as a motivational speaker, teaching losers how to use their goals and abilities to construct the life they want.

I’ll admit I’m glad that she was your aunt and not your lover. This meant I had a shot at a long-distance relationship with you. I barely listened to anything you said for the two hours that you sat at the bar, regaling me with stories and blinding me with your smile. Instead of paying attention to you, I was envisioning long, sleepy telephone conversations in the dead of night, hastily, passionately scrawled letters scented with my perfume and sent to you SWAK, long-awaited biannual rendezvous in some mid-western bungalow or Aspen ski lodge. I’m sorry about that. You understand.

Your aunt did not appear drunk. At one point, you remember, she asked where I would go if I could go anywhere in the world. Without hesitating, I answered, “Germany,” because I have a slight obsession with Germany. She immediately wrote down her email and said, “You send me the dates you want to go to Germany, and I will buy you a round trip ticket. Just like that.” Her air was so commanding, her tone so sincere, the look in her eyes so genuine, so focused on me and my poor, untraveled self, that I couldn’t bring myself to openly doubt her. So I just smiled a little, maybe a little smugly, and accepted the paper and promised I would, in fact, write to her with the specifics of my S_____-funded trip.

“It’s what I do,” she said, pronouncing each word as though the individual syllables were well-practiced ammunition against non-believers. I looked at you for confirmation of the validity her offer, and your face betrayed nothing; nothing in your expression led me to believe that I should not take her seriously.

“It’s what she does,” you said, and that line was enough to send my imagination traipsing through the German countryside, holding your hand, each of us tucking into a kielbasa on-the-go while we pet peddling donkeys and stopped periodically to adjust each other’s lederhosen. I decided then and there I would learn to love sauerkraut if it meant you would love me more.

What happened next was a bit blurry, but, in retrospect, I think I retained enough of it to be able to relay it to you accurately, since it all occurred while you were in the bathroom.

I was in the midst of Part XVI of my Germanic Fantasy, the part where we buy an old-style Tudor house with cash and we watch Discovery Channel in our pajamas. Only the shows are overdubbed in German, and we think this is funny, and “Who cares if the words don’t fit their mouths! Das Geschwalle,” we say as we laugh and refill our mugs of Liebfraumilsch, sauerkraut simmering on the stove. Because I love sauerkraut now, for you. For You.

I was brought back to reality when your aunt dumped her entire drink on the bar, very apropos of nothing and most certainly deliberately. Die Schwanzlutscher! She looked at me and said, “Well, WHADDYA THINK A DAT?” Wombatalie (you met her; she’s the drummer in the band I’m in, remember? Remember I told you I was in a band in a desperate attempt to make you think I was cool and worth a classic old-fashioned mesalliance?) looked at me with a mixture of shock and terror in her eyes, as if to say, “Well, Wombat, this woman is batshit ca-RAY-zy, right?”

And I told your aunt, I told her, “Well, what I think of that is I think it’s time for you to go home.”

Her response was to pick up several patrons’ drinks and slam them one by one, the defiance sparkling in her bloodshot eyes a little more with each stolen Jager shot, each drained, pilfered Old English.

And then, sweetheart, while you were in the bathroom, thinking about me I’m sure, your aunt busied herself by practicing her Ninja Batshit Vault technique. I don’t know if you’ve seen this move from her before, but I can tell she’s been practicing it for a long, long time. Maybe she tries it out on the kitchen countertop? Or maybe the picnic table in her backyard? Or perhaps she attempts it on parked Buicks, small watercraft in her neighbors’ driveways, chain link fences?

Who knows? Anyways, she placed both her hands on the bar and vaulted herself over it in one jump, landing with a small tennis grunt three inches away from me, behind the bar. Like, in MY area. She bared her teeth and said, “Do ya want me to go home NOW, missy?”

“Well, um, yeeeah,” I told her. Just because she can chug strangers’ White Russians and perform imbibed airborne stunts doesn’t mean she’s welcome in my bar.

That’s when you returned from the bathroom. I could tell by your expression, your beautiful, bored-as-hell expression, that this display was nothing you hadn’t seen from Aunt Flo before. You signed your tab, tossed forty bucks on the bar for me, and then you were out of my life forever.

Or were you? Maybe that squeeze on the shoulder I gave you, that little subtle wink and the mouthed “Thank You” I tossed out while you were struggling to remove her from the establishment, maybe that was enough to sear an imprint into your deep-thinking, well-traveled, wistful, Harvard-educated brain. Maybe one day you’ll return to me sans Aunt Jo, and you’ll let me pick out beers for you again and you’ll tell me your real name, because I did notice that you introduced yourself with five different names when addressing five different people over the course of the night. You’re so mysterious.

Maybe one day you’ll realize that I don’t care about the in-laws that will be bestowed upon me after we are united as one. We’ll laze in our tudor home and construct Kleiderschrank shrines hailing David Hasslehoff. Maybe one night, when I leave work, I’ll see you at the top of the Hell stairs, nonchalantly leaning against the low brick wall, your hands in your back pockets, much like Aunt Flo did after her Stunt that night. Only she was stalking the parking lot with beer-stained culottes and a grimace, waiting for me to leave so she could kill me. I know she was. We checked several times and I didn’t leave until it was safe.

I only have one question.

Do you think she’ll still be sending us to Germany? Or no?

Write Back Soon, Love,

Mandey. xoxo

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