Authors: Christine Zolendz,Angelisa Stone
“No. Ugh. I think I’m having a heart attack. I just ran for like, ninety seconds straight. Tell my girls I love them,” I panted.
She laughed. “Okay, so when are you getting here? I was going to go to the Y tonight.”
“Maybe three more hours. I don’t think I’ll stop again. I’d rather pee myself.”
I started the van as quickly as I could and peeled out of the truck stop lot on screeching tires. “Wait, hold up. Did you really think for a minute that I’d be having sex with a strange man when I called you?” I asked, merging onto the highway.
“Okay, so I need to give you some updated developments about my vagina. Like on the spot correspondence, as I travel. I don’t think I have the guts for a one-off. I think that maybe people who do that are like lying, when they say it’s exhilarating. Because all I see is ax murderers chopping me into pieces and hairy bent penises. And I tried to write and I can’t. I just can’t.” I spewed incoherently. I swerved into another lane and screamed. “Oh my God. At the rate I’m freaking out, look for me on the next episode of
,” I yelped.
“What the hell? Are you drunk?”
“No. But, that is a terrific idea. Do you Ohio people have those cool drive-through liquor stores? If so, I’m hitting that place before I get to you.”
“Yep. We got The Brew Thru out here.”
“I may move to Ohio.”
“Okay, well, pick up some wine coolers,” she instructed.
Wine coolers? They still sell that stuff? “Sure, it’ll be like 1980 all over again. We could even do our hair all big and slap on some leg warmers.”
She hung up on me.
After another two hundred miles of road behind me, my air conditioner spat out a suspicious substance from its vents, wheezed, coughed and then just died. I took the first exit I could, Exit 229, which led me in to the lovely town of Youngstown. And by lovely, I mean ghetto, so I drove right back onto the highway and rolled down the damn window. It didn’t look like the kind of place I had enough pepper spray for.
Another hundred miles behind me, and I was drenched in sweat, hanging my head out the car window like a damn dog. When my GPS barked out my last exit and destination, I cried tears of joy. Literally cried.
Walking up to ring her bell was a noisy affair between the rub of the wet denim of my jeans and my thighs.
There was a beautifully landscaped garden and a very expensive sports car parked in the driveway.
Why couldn’t my husband get a new sports car to drive instead of a new girlfriend to ride?
Angelisa was so freaking lucky.
A little pint-sized football player answered the door.
“Who are you?” His eyes squinted narrowly at me through his helmet.
“Christine,” I said, trying to act cool. I popped a bubble with my gum and nudged my chin at the athlete. “Who are you?”
“Evan,” he replied. “My friend Miles told me if you stick a sock in your butt you could fart out your mouth.”
“You need to stay away from this Miles person if he likes to stick socks up his butt,” I said, laughing.
“He dared anyone in the class to do it for a dollar. My mom won’t let me try it.”
“Smart woman—unlike Miles’ parents. Miles’ parents should start saving now for his future bail necessities—or stop saving for college, because he’s got no shot.”
This kid needed to find new friends. But I couldn’t wait to meet Evan’s mother. It had been too long that I’d been friends with the Facebook profile of Angelisa Stone, and I wanted to finally meet her—the real person behind the profile.
“Pardon me,” Judge Jacobson interrupts, wrinkling her brow.
She needed to invest in a good pair of tweezers
. “Do you mean to tell me that before this incident you two had never met one another before?” She shoots suspicious glances at the two of us.
“No, sir… MA’AM! I’m sorry, I meant Ma’am.”
“And you just drove all the way to this person’s home, not knowing if she was a dangerous individual?”
“Well, that just would have been a whole different genre, now wouldn’t it?” Angelisa quipped sarcastically.
“Excuse me?” The judge eyes her scornfully.
“Ang is just kidding. She doesn’t know when to be serious and when to make jokes. But truly your honor, by this point, I felt like I knew more about Angelisa and her kids than I knew about my own nieces and nephews,” I explain quickly, glaring at Angelisa. “We talk every day. We complain to each other, cry about our dumbass husbands, I mean, sorry, dumb husbands… we talk about everything. All that was missing at this point was the face-to-face meeting, the loud squeals of long-lost… or… first-found friends, and a near rib-breaking hug that made me shoot my gum right into her hair,” I laugh as Angelisa groans in memory. “If you wait a few more seconds, you’re about to hear all about that, too.”
“Ladies, as interesting as all of this is, I would just like to know why two women of your caliber were nude, drunk, and doing handstands in the fountains of the Bellagio.”
“And you will, just as soon as we tell you about taking Evan to the hospital to get the sock out of his rear end,” I promise, stifling a giggle.
Twitter: Motherhood should come with an instruction manual and a return policy. #WombReturn
“Evan Nicholas, get up here right now,” I yelled, seeing that Hurricane Evan had hit his bedroom once again for the third time today.
“Don’t you dare ‘But Mom’ me. I’ve told you a million times about this room. Get up here immediately!” I yelled from the top of the stairs. Hearing him stomp up the stairs, my patience threatened to explode in a whirlwind of pent up anxiety and frustration. God, I needed a drink. I needed a little horizontal-loving, too. Hell, what I really needed was some deodorant and a shower. I just hoped I had enough time to shower before Christine arrived.
Seeing Evan, I about lost what was left of my patience. “What in the name of Satan are you wearing?” I cried, sitting down on the steps. “Wait! Don’t tell me… please don’t tell me… we swore up and down last fall that we turned in Kevin’s football equipment and that we no longer had the helmet or shoulder pads. We told Coach Cartus that he was out of his mind and that I vividly remember giving it to him at the banquet. Please tell me those are
“Yeah they are—he was number thirty-two. Look a three and a two,” Evan stated sarcastically, pointing to each number. I wanted to break his finger off and shove it up his little freaking—
“Angelisa! I’m here,” I heard a voice call as footsteps ascended the stairs.
“OH MY GOD,” I yelled, barreling down the steps to meet her on the landing. I threw myself in her arms, like a long-lost lover, hugging her tightly. She grunted loudly as something landed in my hair.
“Holy crap, I’m so sorry!” she apologized in her thick New York accent, reaching for the wad of gum that just catapulted out of her mouth and into my messy bun.
“It’s all good,” I said, smiling from ear-to-ear. “I’ll cut it out later. Bryce puts crap in my hair all the time. I never had layers in my hair until I had kids,” I joked. I looped my arm through Christine’s and pulled her back down the steps. Yelling toward the second floor, “Evan, I don’t want to see you again until you clean that room… and burn that uniform.”
“Uhhh, are you sure you should—”
“Good point,” I said, reading her mind. “Don’t… do NOT… burn the uniform. Stay far far away from fire. Stash the uniform somewhere in a bag in the very back of your closet and never… ever… speak of it again.”
Christine was everything I thought she’d be and also nothing I thought she’d be. First of all, she was funny and witty, which I already knew. But she was also complimentary—about everything. She scrutinized my house like a detective examining a crime scene. She asked about the pictures on the walls, the artwork, and everything else she saw. I loved when people noticed my house—really noticed it and took interest in it.
“So you’re telling me, that your husband whisked you away to a surprise destination for your fortieth birthday to Turks and Caicos for seven… seven… kid-free days… and if that wasn’t enough, while you were both gone, he had a contractor come in and build you a library… in your house?” Christine marveled, picking up my hardback copy of
The Deathly Hallows.
“Yep, but I had to put the books on the shelves myself. He said he didn’t know how I’d want them organized. He and the boys brought all the books out of storage, but I was on my own to fill the shelves. It was a freaking night—”
“No… no… don’t even try to minimize this. Ya know what I got for my fortieth? A phone call that said Scott would be late and a daughter with a fever of 102.4, who incidentally puked in my bed
on my pillow,” Christine stated, putting the book back on the shelf. “Be careful Ang, I just might jump and hump Matt in his sleep.”
That’s going to be one long-ass jump
, I thought to myself.
People say that you can’t make friends over social media and that it’s all superficial friendliness—or downright subterfuge. I disagreed. I actually felt more comfortable and at ease with her in my house than I did when my mother-in-law visited, and I knew her (and hated her) for twenty-some years.
What was surprising about Christine was how unkempt she was. I realized that she’d just driven nearly eight hours to get to my house, but nothing about her said, “Hey, I looked forward to our meeting.” Granted, it had been a good 48 hours since my last shower, and there was still spilled orange juice on my t-shirt that had been there since breakfast. But, I
planned to look presentable and do my hair and makeup for her arrival. I couldn’t help that the laundry and housework sucked me in and spat me out looking like the devil lovechild of Cinderella and the Beast.
Christine’s ends were split. Her roots were coming in dark and gray. My God, she was way overdue for a makeover and a day of pampering. Why do women do this to themselves? They get all pissed off when their husbands stop banging them and bang something new and shiny. Well Hell, shine that shit up and make it all sparkly, so your husband comes a-knocking. I’ve always felt like if you don’t at least try to stay close to the way you looked (and even acted) on the day of your proposal and on your wedding day, then it is a total breach of contract.
Take me for instance, when Matt proposed, I was about 70 pounds lighter with shiny, long, blond hair and skin that was tight and taught—in all the right places. I dressed up for occasions, always doing my hair and makeup, parading around in high heels—never leaving the house without glossed lips and a spritz of a sexy scent. Of course, things change with age, I get that—have always understood that. Things droop; others sag. Some stuff pooches and paunches while others shrivel up and nearly die. But seriously, the last time I squirted anything on me, it was a bottle of Spray-n-Wash, so the spaghetti sauce wouldn’t stain my white t-shirt when I decided to take it off in a day or two.
When Matt was here, I still attempted every now and then to make him take notice of me—even if it was a quick glance before switching the television channel. I used do my nails, highlight my hair, change my clothes, and brush my teeth. Lately, it was a successful day worth cheering about if I crossed two of those things off my “to-do” list in a two-day period.
Holy Hell, I was staring at Christine, but instead, it was like looking in the mirror. Here I was judging her for her lack of effort, her lackadaisical attitude toward her appearance, and all I really saw was my own reflection in her defeated eyes, scraggly split ends, and her four-inch roots. Oh my God, no wonder Matt hightailed it to Michigan, and Scott found solace in the confines of a rhinestone-studded trollop. Not only had Christine and I given up, but we’d also thrown in the towel and left it there to mold and smell in curdled old-age goo.
Apparently, Matt had every right in the book, the good old book according to Angelisa, to haul my giant butt into court, because I had definitely breached this contract. The Angelisa I had become was not the one he bent down on one knee and claimed his unconditional, undying love for. He proposed to a princess and sadly ended up marrying Jabba the Hutt. The poor guy. Who’d want to spend his life writhing around in the slime of the aging slug who occupied your house with cranky pessimism and overwhelming negativity? Apparently not Matt—not my three boys either, considering they were all leaving tomorrow morning for their fun-filled, carefree summer with their spontaneous and exuberant father in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
“Mom! Mom! Evan needs you,” Bryce screamed.
“I’m not yelling,” I ironically yelled. “If he needs me, then tell him to come downstairs.”
“He can’t!” Bryce bellowed. “He’s got a sock stuck up his bottom.”
“He what?” Christine and I screamed charging up the stairs together.