HELLO, GOODBYE

RITA’S STORY


It was the night of the office Christmas party and I was dreading it. I knew Kevin was going to be there. After our breakup, I couldn’t stand being around him. I thought he was a great guy; I was wrong. He was only interested in sex. Kevin never missed a party, a chance to get drunk and hit on me. I wasn’t there long before he spotted me. I turned and headed for the restroom. When I came out, Kevin was waiting…..drunk, leaning against the wall, drink in hand. He stumbled towards me slurring “hey, baby”, pushing the drink in my face. I walked past him but he grabbed my arm and dragged me into the supply room. He spun me around, smashing his lips against mine, tearing at the buttons on my blouse and shoving his hand up my skirt. Somehow I managed to push him off me. Kevin was so drunk, he stumbled and fell backwards. I ran out into the street, gasping as the cold rain washed my body of Kevin’s stink. I couldn’t go to my apartment. Hailing a cab, I fled to the safety of my parents house…..safe from Kevin. 

KEVIN’S STORY

It was the night of the office Christmas party and I was dreading it. I knew Rita was going to be there. We had a ‘thing’ once which ended badly….for her. These parties…..I only go to them because it’s expected but they really aren’t my thing. I pop in, make the rounds and take off. I was set to leave when Rita snuck up behind me at the coat closet. Wrapping her arms around my waist, she tongued my ear whispering incoherently. When I turned around to free myself, she pulled me into the closet, fumbling with my belt buckle. Rita was grinding against me, her dress riding up to her waist. I was trapped by a drunken sex machine reeking of cheap perfume and bourbon. This is not how I like being with a woman and I was disgusted. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. Suddenly Rita went limp in my arms and crumbled onto a pile of coats. I grabbed my jacket and made a beeline for the door. The air was cold  but I knew it would clear the smell of Rita from my clothes and out of my head. 

NAR © 2017

THREE OF A KIND

Head cocked to the right, Jake waited impatiently as I read the article he had slipped in front of me. Having been born with microtia, Jake’s right ear was very small and malformed with significantly decreased hearing…..just like his idol Paul Stanley from KISS….so tilting his head to one side for better hearing was second nature. 

“Mom, can we go….PLEASE?” he pleaded. “The article says 50 dogs and cats will be euthanized next week unless they’re adopted. Please, Mom! I’ve wanted a dog forever! If I can get a dog for Christmas, I’ll never ask you for another thing for the rest of my life!!”

I slid my glasses down my nose and raised my eyebrows questioningly. “That’s a really long time, Jake! I’ll tell you what. Today’s Wednesday. If you finish that book report and clean your room by Saturday, then we have a deal.” 

“Really?? I swear I will, Mom!” Jake threw his arms around my neck. “I can’t wait until Saturday!” I couldn’t help laughing at his unbridled excitement. 

Saturday finally arrived and Jake was true to his word. His report was done and his room was clean. He even found an old frame in the basement for his favorite KISS poster. 

So I was true to MY word, too. We got to the shelter early and looked around, stopping at all the cages. After a while, I lost sight of Jake. I called out to him and got an “Over here, Mom!” in response. I finally spotted him in the corner, bending down and staring into a cage. There weren’t any other people hanging around that section and I wondered what type of dog caught Jake’s eye. I was surprised to see it wasn’t a dog but two tiny grey kittens. 

“Hey, buddy, what’s up? I thought you wanted to get a dog. Did you change your mind?” 

Jake looked up at me, his big brown eyes brimming with tears. “Mom,” he whispered. “Come look. These are special cats!” Bending down to take a look, I thought “what could be so special about a cat?” My question was answered when I looked in the cage; I gasped slightly at what I saw. 

“Ah, I see an introduction is necessary” said one of the shelter volunteers. ”These are our Scottish Folds. No one wants these little guys because of their folded ears. Everyone thinks there’s something wrong with them but that’s just the way God made them.” 

“Mom, they’re just like me! I love them. Can we take them home, please?” 

“We sure can, buddy” I managed to choke out. “What are you going to name them?” 

“That’s easy.” Jake smiled up at me. “Paul and Stanley.” 

NAR © 2017

#9 DREAM

Head resting gently on his shoulder, her ever-so-slightly parted lips barely grazing his neck, he inhaled the intoxicating aroma of gardenias in her hair and traced her perfect ear with his mouth. Her arms caressed his upper back while his hands slid down hers and he pulled her closer. They swayed across the dance floor to the smooth rhythm of John Lennon’s “#9 Dream” – their first dance together as husband and wife. 

Twenty seven years ago their mothers were best friends – army wives and neighbors, sharing morning coffee, exchanging recipes and sometimes a handkerchief to wipe away tears. Their babies napped  in the same playpen…..he a dark-haired, brown-eyed, sweet-faced charmer and she a fair-skinned  blonde little goddess with eyes as green as dewy grass. 

When they were four she surprised him with a worm and he plucked a dandelion for her that made her giggle. As time went on and days turned into years, they remained  inseparable – climbing trees to see if they could touch the clouds, catching lightning bugs and making a wish before setting them free, sitting in her room sharing their dreams, listening to their parents Beatles CDs while stretched out in his dad’s station wagon, kissing for the first time and a second and a hundredth. 

They “went steady” in high school and became lovers in college. They found an apartment above a shuttered café in Brooklyn. They talked about taking a chance on the old place and bringing it back to life. They worked together and finally celebrated the grand opening of “The Glass Onion Café”. 

It poured like cats and dogs on their wedding day – the old adage of a long and happy marriage.  Could this be reality, their happily-ever-after? Dreams shared in a teenage girl’s bedroom come true? 

Something old: her grandmother’s pearl necklace. Something new: the minuscule miracle of life growing inside her. Something borrowed: her mother’s “army wife handkerchief”. Something blue: her sapphire engagement ring. 

The Master of Ceremonies made the introduction of the new Mr. & Mrs. to the guests and invited everyone to join them on the dance floor. The photographer snapped shot after shot of the stunning couple – she in her exquisite gown of Scottish lace and he in a fitted, perfectly tailored tuxedo. 

It was the magical night everyone intrinsically knew was meant to be; their #9 dream come true. 

NAR © 2017

#9 Dream serigraph by John Lennon