“That’ll by two hundred eight dollars and seventy six cents.” Fuck. I am having a party tonight in celebration of my birthday and what little I have accomplished. I just spent two hundred bucks on booze and make around 400 bucks a week. My student loan bill for three hundred bucks is due tomorrow. Good news is I’ll probably be so hungover that I won’t remember to pay it! Yay! So much for saving some fucking money.
Myyyyyy hearts a stereo… it beats for you so listen close. That’s my ringtone, it’s my mother. Automatically I feel guilty at her disapproval of me spending money I don’t have to drink the calories I don’t need.
“ Hey Ma!” I say cheerfully.
“Hey ash ba tash- what you doing?” She asks like a toddler. What can I say, she’s still five at heart which is why she loves being a kindergarten teacher.
“Oh ya know just picking a few things up for the shindig tonight. Are you guys coming?” Please say no. Please say no.
“No…” I do a triumphant fist pump with vodka bottles clanging around my wrist, “ I need to pack, for my conference tomorrow.” She is going to a kindergarten conference in Las Vegas. I can think of a million things I would love to do in Vegas, being in a lecture hall with 5,000 teachers is not one of them.
“ But,” continues my mother, “ I wanted to wish you a happy birthday.” She starts to sing me the song. This is awkward. Do you ever notice how weird it is to be on the other line of a phone call when someone starts singing to you, and you just have to wade it out. I cut her off at the tail end, “ …Birthday tooooooo y-“
“Thanks Maman!” I say excitedly.
“Are you having a happy birthday?” she asks.
“ You bet!” I say.
“Oh, remember you are housesitting for us right?” Shit. I totally forgot.
“Oh yeah ma, Of course I remember!” I reply.
“Ok, so then we are leaving at 9AM. Can you be here by 8:30 tomorrow?” WHAT THE FUCK?!?!? NO!
“Of course! I gotta go mom I love you! See you tomorrow.”
“Love you too baby!” she hangs up. Fuck me. My parents live 60 miles south of me, which mean I would need to leave my house by 7:30 to get there by 8:30. Son of a bitch. Oh well, I guess I’ll just drive hungover. Nothing is getting in the way of this party tonight. I finish loading the booze into my trunk and look at my phone 14 texts. I start texting people back. Most of them are, “sorry cant make it 2nite. Luv u tho-have fun!” I did foresee this. I invited 117 people on facebook. I’m thinking about 15 will show up. I look at the time. 4:45pm. I need to clean the house and get ready.
Cut to three hours later. The house is as spotless as it’s going to get. I have pre-gamed it with two glasses of wine and six pigs in a blanket. There goes the carbs. I walk over to the ice chest and grab a beer. I am feeling good. Happy. I am also wearing pink fish net tights. Who doesn’t feel happy in pink fish net tights? My outfit in its entirety is horrendous. I have on pink and teal hightop sneakers, knee high softball socks over the pink tights, bright teal running shorts, a bright pink tank top covered by an awful, oversized, cheap silk button down shirt, which I have tied around my waist. I am also wearing pink and gold dangling earrings all topped off with a side pony tail. Did I mention this was an ’80s party?
I run upstairs to finish caking on blue eye shadow and frosty pink lipstick. Meatloaf is blasting and I hear my roommate yelling for me, “ Ashley!” The first guest must have arrived. I come stumbling downstairs and fling the door open.
A tall and beautiful, amazingly graceful woman stands at the doorway. She is wearing a bright pink over coat. She has opened it to show off her bright blue and neon green skintight dress that cuts off way above the knee. She is a dancer, she can afford to wear shit like that.
“You look great, Mel!” I scream with a hint of jealous rage. She giggles and steps her gorgeous legs through the doorway. Mel is one of those women who radiate beauty. She is sex on a stick. She is 5’8” and probably 119 lbs. she has beautiful hazel blue eyes and luscious lips. I know right? I mean I can’t complain on the blue eyes and lucisous lips front. But I definitely don’t have long legs to add to my sex appeal. I’m like a tea pot. I’m 5’5 with reddish blonde hair and a fat ass. Good news is God granted me a nice rack. Thank you God. To each their own.
“Oh my God- you look so… cute!” she says. Cute? Eh. I’ll take it. Mel continues, “ You’re like Punky Brewster meets material girl.” Oh, yeah I am also wearing what feels like a million gold bracelets.
“Can I get you a drink?” I say.
“Absofruitly, “ she responds, “ Oh, and I have so much to tell you.”
I start to pour her a glass of red wine and I know exactly what she is referring to. Her boyfriend. A couple of things to know about Mel:
She is gorgeous and has an amazing body.
She is forty-two.
She is divorced and if you ever go out with her, people will definitely hit on her first, so take a double shot of self- confidence before you roll out to a club with this bitch. What can I say, men my age love cougars.
Oh and the last thing. She has this boyfriend who is also gorgeous, also forty something, but has the emotional capacity of a thirteen year old boy. We call him the Professor…because he is one.
Now for a little recap. Mel is super intelligent and doesn’t believe in black and white relationships, the way us twenty-seven year olds do. The professor has broken up with Mel once before, because he wanted to bang one of his students. We all disapproved them getting back together, myself excluded. I live in the gray area with Mel- NOT fifty shades (fuck… ladies, just watch porn. Christian Grey is a douche) – so things like betrayal can be outweighed by a good conversationalist, or a snuggler after sex.
“So…?” I ask.
“So,” Mel retorts, “ I think, I think he might be fooling around.”
Seriously? I feel like we already stopped here in this relationship. But what do I know?
“Why do you think that?” I ask.
“It’s just… one of those feelings, ya know.”
“Yeah.” I don’t. I don’t have any clue what it’s like to be cheated on. Not by someone you care about. When I was fifteen, we all played seven minutes in heaven and I forced my so called boyfriend to go in the closet with another girl because I wanted him to break up with me. I know, I’m an asshole.
“Ok,” I say, “Let’s think this through. What specifically gives you that impression.”
“Hey you guys! Mel you look great!” Sara, my roommate enters. I shouldn’t call her my roommate. Sara is my best friend in the entire world. And I am not talking like ‘OMG we r BFFs’. I am talking, I would take a bullet for this woman. She is the BEST friend I have ever had. She teaches me about what it means to love and accept and forgive and …well you get the picture. We are close, not gay, but close. Some people think we are gay, which I personally get a kick out of, but unfortunately we’re not, so there you have it. Sara is about four inches taller than me and probably a little heavier as well, she has a dazzling smile and an even more dazzling personality. She’s southern.
“Thank you!” Mel replies. Mel and I table our conversation. Mel and Sara love each other, but Sara has strict views on how a woman should be treated by a man. Needless to say she still has her V-card. That’s why Mel chooses to confide in me and me alone about her man troubles. Mel and Sara start up a conversation about Texas, pretty much anyone who talks to Sara talks about Texas, that’s where she is from and gosh –darned proud of it. Oh yeah and Sara doesn’t cuss either- what the fuck right?
I check my phone and see loads of texts ( three) of people who are lost and trying to get here. By 9:15 my house is pretty filled with people I have known from all walks of life. I have thus had four more beers and by 10:30, six shots. Everyone seems to be having a great time. I am a social butterfly moving from one conversation to the next checking my phone every ten minutes to see if the man I am actually interested in will be attending this evening. His name is Alan. That is my Dad’s name, only my dad spells his A-L-L-E-N. It sort of freaks me out he has the same name as my dad. Alan is attending the farewell tour of Thrice all over Los Angeles and doesn’t think I am important enough to 1.) Invite along with him or 2.) Make an exception to NOT go, because of my birthday. I can’t tell you what I see in Alan other than he sends my stomach into flips and I can’t stop smiling when I am around him. Also, he bought me pie on our first date. It was the best pie I had ever tasted. This is not a metaphor. He actually bought me pie and I was in love ever since. But all in all I don’t know if I actually consider him a catch. He is 6’1”. Bonus. Tall guys are always a bonus. He is about 270 lbs of NOT pure muscle. I feel like there could be muscle somewhere. I mean he picked me up once during sex which I feel like is a massive feat. Maybe that’s why I am into him. He is also a comic book nerd and a hipster. I fucking hate hipsters. In his defense he did text me Happy Birthday.
Cut to 11:15 and I am on my ninth birthday cake shot, I am trying to text him but seeing one phone in my hand is hard enough. I get out something along these lines:
“cone her. In drinkand I real lick u.”
“Come here. I’m drunk and I really like you.”
I feel like he understands most of it because he responds with:
“No. I am at a concert. I don’t want to leave this for a fucking eighties party.”
Now the Ashley I know would say something along the lines of,
“ Fine fuck you dick. Btw Thrice is overrated and I’m glad they are breaking up.”
Instead, I say:
“ Ok! Hope you have fun punkin!;)”
(That took twenty minutes to get that much out in my drunken state.)
I put the phone down realizing there is no way Alan is coming, nor will I convince him. And even if he did come, I would be too fucked up to even recognize him. I look around and see a bunch of people I know in awesome 80s outfits. A friend who I had just done a play with showed up looking like a prep from Pretty in Pink. Two guys ( who… they don’t actually look familiar… at all) showed up in matching tennis outfits. I would assume they are gay, but they aren’t pretty enough nor charming enough to pull that off. But they keep making me birthday cake shots so I don’t really care. At some point in time during the party Mel comes up to me to say goodbye. I can tell something is wrong but I am not of sound mind or body to ask her about it, and even if I was I get the feeling she might not want to talk about it in the middle of this debacle. So I give her a great big hug, slur how much I love her and have one of the tennis kids walk her to her car.
I move out back to the patio, all the couples are out in the back. Oh joy. I cross to my favorite couple, Liz and Patrick. Patrick is trying to hide while he starts a joint and Liz is buzzed. She is also being loud so people don’t see Patrick lighting a joint. From across the yard I yell over, “Patrick! Are you smoking weed?!”
“Fucking Ashley,” says Liz, “Woman what are you doing? We were trying to lay low. What if there is a cop around here?”
“Fuck you Liz, why would there be a cop around here.”
“Because you date cops,” blurts our Patrick.
“That was one time!” I shout back. It was one time, and that guy was a tool. I don’t want to get into it. Anyway, Patrick inhales and then passes the joint to me. I haven’t smoked weed in fucking forever, aka it’s been like three months. I would like to add that I am by no means a pothead. I rarely smoke and when I do I’m usually oober fucked up. So this is the perfect time.
“Ash ba tash!” I hear Marol’s voice. Marol is there with her current ex boyfriend. I know that sounds confusing. This is her most current ex boyfriend. She has a tendency to break up with people and get back together. She has been doing that with this guy for the last three years. Want to know how I know? Marol is my brother’s ex girlfriend. My brother died three years ago. We will get to that heart wound later. Sufficed to say, before Tyson’s body cooled she already had a new man. His name is Chad Peppers, I call him Pep Pep. I feel like my brother would like that. And there is not a whole that Pep Pep can do to stop it because I can always pull the- “yeah well my dead brother fucked your girlfriend before you did” card.
Marol is yelling at me because apparently my phone is going off again. I genuinely don’t know who it is and secretly praying it’s Alan confessing his undying love to me. She comes outside and starts waving my phone around.
“Some guy named Ala-“ I grab the phone. It is Alan. His text makes my heart have wings and then immediately plummet. It says:
“If you want I can stop by and do you, but I can’t stay.”
Oh how can I contain my excitement? I love feeling like a pity fuck slash prostitute. Marol reads the text out loud. FOR THE WORLD TO HEAR. This presents a plethora of problems. The first of which, people I haven’t seen since second grade are at this party. Their first impression after seeing me learn to ride a bike is, “oh what a slut she has become.” The next one is I have a lot of male friends at this party. We became friends because I probably met them off a free dating website and stayed friends because I never put out. And finally, I turn to look at the backyard. Couples. All of those people out there have someone that they really love who really loves them and the best I can get is, “I can fuck you on my way home, while your friends wait downstairs, but don’t think I’ll make you feel important by spooning afterward.”
I feel my world spinning as everyone stares waiting for me to say something.
“DUDE!” I say and by say, I mean yell, “Fuck that guy!”
Yes. That is the best I can come up with, because in all honesty if I were more sober I would probably be sobbing. Everyone seems to deem the response awesome because everyone is laughing and “cheers”-ing me. I can feel the ultimate lonely feeling, but what the hell? Who cares? I look around and there is still at least eighteen people who care, so that ain’t nothing. I turn and go inside, saying my, “hi’s” and “hellos” as I go. I trip upstairs and find myself on my hands and knees crawling towards the bathroom. I am going to puke. I can feel tear drops falling. Fuck. Ashley! Don’t cry! It’s your birthday! And I don’t want to cry.
Good news is I no longer have to worry about my emotions, because my physical body has taken precedent. I am violently, projectile vomiting into the toilet. Things start to get blurry and I don’t want to move from the toilet. When I feel soft cool hands wipe my messy hair out of my face and put a bottle of water to my lips. I slowly open my eyes to see Sara. She is smiling at me.
“Sara… my heart hurts.”
“I know babe.” She wipes vomit from my mouth and helps me into bed. Usually I would fight to stay awake while hosting a party. But Sara takes over. I guess I’ll just have to hear about it. I stare at my iHome. 1:44am. Then blackout.
My mind slurs and blurs. I attempt to open my eyes. This takes practice on the fifth try they are officially open. I still can’t see a damned thing. I am lying on my stomach cuddled with, “Mockingjay,” the last book in the Hunger Games series. There is some sort of dried liquid on it. I am praying it’s not vomit. I think it is just saliva. I prop myself onto my elbows and the dizziness sets in.
“uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” I moan. I don’t know why but there is something about moaning that just makes you feel better. I fight to get myself to sit up all the way like a big girl. I look around. My eyes are super dry. I realize I have slept in my contacts.
“Fuuuuuuuuuuck,” I sigh. Most people do sleep in their contacts. I am not one of them. I look at the clock. 7:49am. Shit. I am going to be late to my parent’s house, problem is, I can’t bring myself to care. I put my feet on the ground and try to stand up. The spinning multiplies. Mmmm no. Fuck that. I am definitely not ready to stand up. So I continue to moan. I see something in my peripheral vision. It’s Sara, she walks by my bedroom.
“Good morning sunshine,” she says in a raspy voice. I can’t bring myself to actually speak real words yet, so I wave hello.
“How ya feeling?” I shake my head no. My body is not going to cooperate at all I can tell and I am not happy about it. I see there is a trashcan next to my feet. I might need that. But I don’t want to clean it up later, so I would prefer to use a toilet for what I feeling churning in my stomach. Sara sees it too. She helps me up and guides me to the bathroom where I fall hard on my knees and hang my head in the toilet.
“Huahhhhhhhh” my voice screeches. A little water comes up, but for the most part I am just going to be dry heaving for a while. Sara takes a seat on the bathtub. She starts to rub my back but eventually gives up. In between dry heaves I try to make this semi interesting for her, “So,” I gasp, “ Did you have fun last niiiiiiiiahhhhhh.”
She repeats, “Did I have fun last night?” I nod my head in the toilet.
“As a matter of fact, I did,” she says, “ I even got some action.”
This stops me dead in my tracks. Now, since I have known Sara, which has been like five years, I have not once heard of anyone so much as kissing her. She has been asked out on dates and all and I know she had a high school sweetheart type thing, but This is the Virgin Mary, more than a hand hold and I am on speed dial with this bitch. My interest is entirely peeked.
“What the FUCK?!?” I burp into the toilet.
“ Yeah!,” she nods proud of herself, “ Remember that Evan kid.” I rack my mushy brain… Evan, Evan, Evan… who the fuck is Evan?
“ He was the tall guy in the tennis duo.”
I remember the tennis duo guys. Evan was the cuter one among them.
“ Oh yeah…” My body is starting to work properly.
“ Well, I came up here to check on you and he was sitting in the bathtub.”
“ What?” I ask, “ While I was throwing up?”
“ Yeah,” she says, “ So I was like, Um, Evan what are you doing up here and why are you watching her throw up. He says, ‘I just wanted to make sure she was ok, plus you said you were coming up here, so I thought I would wait for you.’ Apparently after you went upstairs he and I were talking and you hadn’t come down in awhile. So, I told him I was going up to check on you, but I kept getting sidetracked by other people.”
“Wait,” I stop, “ how long was he sitting here watching me throw up?”
“ At least like twenty minutes,” she responds.
“ Creepster,” I say, wiping my mouth with toilet paper.
“ Not really, I mean he genuinely didn’t want you to die. Or like choke on your own vomit.”
“But still, first of all our bathtub isn’t that clean, and then just hanging out while someone vomits,” I shudder.
“Anyway,” Sara says relaying this is obviously not the important part of the conversation, “ So I come up here. He gets up and then he just starts kissing me.”
By this time my stomach has settled for now and I move to sit cross-legged with my back against the opposite wall of the bathtub. I am super excited to hear that someone has kissed her. I have to admit I was slightly jealous. I would have liked to be kissed on my birthday, but I am almost happier because consequentially I get kissed far more often than Sara and this is definitely a nice birthday gift.
“ So we kiss for a long time and he is really coppin a feel. I am getting tired of standing so we move to my bedroom. Which, it was funny because originally he grabbed my hand and led me into YOUR room and he was all, ‘I like the way your room is decorated, you have a good eye.’ And I was all, ’ I’ll tell Ashley you said so, seeing as to how this is her room.’ Anyway I take him into my room-”
“Wait,” I interrupt, “ What did he say about the décor in your room?”
“Moving on!” Pause. There is something you should know about Sara. She is a pack rat. Not a hoarder, but a packrat. She never throws anything away. Granted she is very organized, but she has a full size bed from 1995 with a quilt made in 1986 and stuffed animals from every major point in her childhood. She also has a keyboard, an elliptical and there is not a whole lot in her room that matches. Whereas I actually attempted to run a color scheme in my room with the artwork to support it. I have browns and greens (I read that those colors are soothing in the bedroom). I have a large horizontal painting of the Brooklyn Bridge and a large painting of trees I inherited from my brother after he died. It really brings everything together. Sara and I are always arguing over décor. She doesn’t give a shit and I want us to spend our nonexistent fortune on bathroom rugs and throw pillows. So the fact the one guy she made out with recognizes good interior design reinforces my side of the argument. Or it proves he’s gay. For both our sakes’, I’ll assume the former.
“So you take him into your room,” I say.
“ We are sitting on my bed and making out and then I realize you asked for water. And I stop him from basically undressing me and I am like, ‘She needs water! GAH!’ So I run downstairs and get you some water. And then I text you because I don’t want to go back upstairs, So I text you to come downstairs not realizing that you can’t really do anything.”
I shrug my consent, she continues, “ And then I go back up there and it was so funny because you came to for a second, you were like, ‘ Is that Evan?’ and I was like Yes! Which by the way, how do you know Evan?”
“ I don’t,” I respond, “I thought you did.”
“ Eh whatevs.” Sara continues with her story that she eventually peeled Evan off her and got me into bed. Apparently she was the hit of the party because another one of our actual male friends tried to make out with her. She confided Evan was the better kisser however he bit a lot. Now looking closely at her lips I see she has a massive bruise on her bottom lip, which we both laugh about. I still feel like shit but at least now I am functional. By the time we get out of the bathroom it is 8:16am. I pack a bag as quick as I can in my state, grab some sunglasses and hit the road.
I know my parents are going to be less than thrilled at my being late. But they did know I was drinking last night. Anyway, why the Fuck is anyone ever up before 10 am on a Saturday morning? I take a deep breath and call my parents home phone on my Bluetooth.
“ Gooooood Morning! This is Allen,” says my father’s cheery voice. My father and I are both night owls. My mother is the early riser. Although, if my mom wakes my dad up early enough he is cheery about an hour after a good breakfast or at the very least some coffee.
“Morning Pop!” I croak.
“Alli wishous! She had done the dishes!” My father hollers back and then proceeds to sing a song he made up when I was seven, it goes, “ Alli- wishes she had done the dishes!” to the tune of the French children’s song, Alloutte. That’s it though, just one line that repeats. My family likes to sing. What can I say?
“How ya doin babycakes?” My dad asks.
“ Um, I’m alright, how are you?”
“ Heh heh!” My father starts to chuckle because he knows I am hungover and he can hear the misery in my voice, “ So, how much did you drink last night?”
“ Uh… Not a lot,” I say.
“ Yeah Bull shit,” my father knows me too well, “So…you called? What’s going on?” Yes, thank you for the change in subject.
“ Oh, well, I just wanted to let y’all know that I will be a little late.”
“ You? Late? I never would have guessed.” Do you see where I get my sarcastic nature?
“So how late will you be?” he asks.
“ Just, like, well I should be there around nine…. Thirty or so.”
I can hear him hide his chuckle as he covers the mouthpiece. Immediately afterward my mother is on the line.
“ Hey asha pa tash.” Ok, so a while ago, I randomly started calling myself ash ba tash. Ash. BA. Tash. I realize it’s ridiculous to give yourself your own nickname, but people loved it and it stuck. Except with my mother, she butchers every version possible, and it drives my shit crazy. My ranting aside, I answer my mom.
“Hey Maman, I just wanted to let y’all know I am gonna be a little late. I should be there around nine thirty.”
“ Yeah!” I can hear my dad in the background, “she was too wasted to be here on time!” Both my parents are laughing. Nice. Well at least they have a sense of humor about what a fuck up their only living offspring is.
“I’m sorry Ma, I guess I am not as young as I used to be. I thought I could get up early enough.”
“ It’s ok,” My Mom responds, “We figured as much, we didn’t plan to leave till 11. I am actually surprised you’re only going to be an hour late.” Bitch. I could have actually slept. Oh well.
“ Ha ha,” I fake laugh, “ ok, well I will see you soon. Do you need me to pick up anything?”
“ Nope! Just get here, I have to show you how to water the plants.” She makes kissing sounds tells me she loves me and then hangs up. Couple things, first of all, it grosses me out when she makes kissing sounds, it sounds too much like sex and replaying it in my mind doesn’t help my already unsettled stomach. Next, how hard is it to water plants. Seriously? She has to show me how? I flashback to myself as an eighth grader when my parents would leave me alone during the summer and my one job was to water the plants. At which point, I would blast them with one drowning spurt of water and get the fuck out of here to go have a tea party. Yes I still had tea parties in eighth grade. They were pretty bad ass, actually. A bunch of girls on a blanket in someone’s living room vacant of parents spoiling our dinner with junk food, gossiping about people. Who wouldn’t want to have a tea party? Looking back, there never was any actual tea. Hmm.
“Toniiiiiiiiight! We are young!” This music is blasting through my sunroof when I pull up to my parent’s house. I close all the windows and get out grabbing only my phone and my keys. I have a horrible habit of leaving everything in my car. Then I always have to make nineteen trips out to the car to get whatever I need, whether it be a toothbrush, a book, what have you. I let myself in and my dad is paying bills in the study, which is the room right next to the front door.
My dad looks up and smiles as he licks and envelope. My father still pays his bills the old fashioned way. He believes that a bill is not considered late if you predate a check and put it in the mail.
“Hiya Pop,” I say as I plop myself down in the chair across from him, “ Where’s my mom?”
He shrugs his shoulders, “ Probably off doing something.” Awesome. Thanks for the specificity there Spock. I stand up and go look for my mother, who is putting one of nineteen bags in the hallway to be packed into her brand new BMW she calls Sophia. It’s funny, I don’t think my parents are wealthy, because they always complain of never having any money and yet they buy BMWs. We live in California. There is something to be said about having a brand named car here. Plus my parents are middle age. I’m pretty sure they deserve to finally start buying themselves some nice things. Granted I wish they would just give me money so I could live, then I realize they do.
My mother runs through, “how” I am supposed to be watering plants and how much food I am designated to ration to the dog. I help my dad pack the rest of the stuff into the car and then we begin with the hugs.
“Now,” my mom tells me as she is taking my hand and guiding me into the kitchen, “ There is a TON of healthy food here, so try not to eat out.” I see where this is going. My mother is about forty pounds less than me and has ten times the energy. She has bright green eyes and a contagious smile. She juices and I have a feeling this is where the conversation is going.
“I set up the juicer for you, just in case you feel like juicing some spinach or whatever.” Yeah. Ok. I can’t wait to juice some fuckin spinach, that is going to taste awesome. I look at my phone because I have lost all interest in where this conversation is going. Edwin has text me, “ Hey pumpkin!” Now, I am annoyed by my phone. Edwin is a guy I met on match.com. For our first date we took a road trip up to Oakland, to see his Raiders play against my Jets. Worst. Idea. Ever. Other than the fact that I had to drive and pay for everything, the Jets lost. He still thinks I am interested.
“Hey there!” I text back. I know, I am my own worst enemy.
“Alli cat!” My mother yells at me. Yes another nickname, but she gave me that one, “I’m trying to tell you, how to use the juicer.”
“MA!” I reply, “ There is no way in hell, I’m going to fuckin bust out some spinach to ‘juice’ it. I’ll just go to Jack in the box.”
“ That’s precisely what I am trying NOT to have you do! Do you know how many toxins are in fast food? Your body needs a cleanse. I bet that right there would help you drop fifteen pounds.”
“You’re saying I have fifteen pounds worth of toxins in my body?”
“If you drink how much I think you drink, then yes.” Fuck.
My dad comes to the rescue he yells to my mom as he enters the kitchen, “ Pam! I thought we were leaving? I had the car started and everything.”
“ We are,” responds my mother, “ I was just showing ash how to juice.”
“Pshhh, She is not going to juice, she would rather just go to Jack in the box.”
Thank you! At least my father knows me. My mother throws her hands in the air. She crosses over to me and I put my arms up for a hug. She squeezes me as if this would be our last hug. That’s a side effect of having a dead son. But I revel in it. That is also a side effect of having a dead brother.
“ I love you more than space,” she says to me.
“ I love you more,” I say back.
“Impossible!” she pulls back and kisses me. On the lips. Moment officially ruined. I don’t know why, but I feel like that stage where you kiss your parents on the lips is over and this is the second time today she has almost made me vomit. I immediately pull away and politely try to wipe my mouth. I turn to my dad who gives me a smug grin. He knows I’m disgusted.
“Can I have a proper hug?” he says with a smirk. I give my dad a hug. I love dad hugs. They are the best. He kisses me three times on the head before the hug is over and just as we are breaking apart my mother wraps her arms around both of us. For a moment we are our own little capsule of love. My parents finally get in the car and head out the driveway. I turn and look down at my family’s dog, Shae. Now, I am not a dog person, or even an animal person by any means. But I fuckin love this dog. She is so sweet. Shae and I look at each other for a moment and have our own silent conversation.
“I love you,” Shae says.
“ Me too,” I nod back.
“ Let’s go inside and do nothing.” That’s why I fuckin love this dog. We go inside and she curls up at my feet while I sit on the couch and watch TV.
My heart’s a stereo, it beats for you so listen close. Hear my thoughts in every note. Make me your radio…
My body jolts awake. Apparently I passed out. I feel much better than I had and crazy thirsty.
My heart’s a stereo, it beats for you so listen close. Hear my thoughts in every note. Make me your radio…
That’s my phone. Fuck! Where is it? I start searching the couch. Adam Levine’s voice keeps singing to me. I look in the kitchen and the garage. The ringing has stopped, but now it’s the principle. I finally find it in the bathroom. That’s another bad habit of mine. I play suduko on my phone while I take a crap. Missed call, it is Mel. I have a bad feeling about this. She leaves a voicemail.
“Hey you,” her sweet voice trills the airwaves, “ it’s me. Yeah, so first of all everything is fine. But I was right about what we talked about. Um. Yeah, so I just wanted to have a little chat with you, but how are you feeling by the way? I just realized it’s not even noon yet, probably too early to call you. Well anyway, call me when you get this. Lurve you!”
She was right. Shiiiiiiit. The Professor was fooling around on her. I mean, I am not surprised but I am not happy about it either. Fuck. Ugh! Why do people do this to each other? I don’t know why people do this, but I have a feeling I know why he did. It’s not because he doesn’t love her. He does. The professor has always loved Mel. But there is something in him, that is almost animal, in that he wants to know he still has whatever factor that makes him desirable. He has to know that he is desirable. I don’t know if it is insecurity, (yes) or pride (yes), but it’s almost like it can’t be helped. There are just those types of people that can’t help but fuckin cheat. I know I sound like a fuckin idiot saying this, but I fully believe that there is something inherently in their structure. I think I say this because deep down I feel like I might have this in me. The only problem is that I don’t actually know because I have only been in one actual committed relationship and it didn’t last long. I didn’t cheat during it, but I had thoughts of it. I guess we all have thoughts though, right?
I look down at my phone. I want to call Mel back, but I am not ready because I don’t yet know what to say. I almost feel like my heart got broken in this. I just hate when women are treated wrongly. I can’t stand that Mel is a beautiful intelligent woman and there is a man who loves her and still treats her like crap. If that’s what she can get then what the fuck am I gonna end up with? I turn and look at Shae for an answer. She rolls her head up to mine with a serious face, “Nothing.” That’s what I think too Shae Shae. Now I really feel crazy I am projecting my own insecurities off my loving dog. I put my phone down and stand up.
There is this feeling that comes with having a hangover, where I feel restless. As if, I am beating myself up saying, ‘Really? Really Ash ba tash? This is what you have become? An alcoholic?’ To which I respond, ‘ Yes you fucking judgmental bitch! I am an alcoholic and I had a damn good time becoming one! Now, get off my nutsack.’ Well this internal conversation can go on forever.
My phone vibrates. It’s a text from Marol, “ Hey punkin! Had so much fun last night! Let’s do lunch sometime next week.” Fuckin Marol. I have a lot of aggression towards Marol, if you can’t tell. It doesn’t help that Marol is a size two, on a “fat day.” There is just something about skinny girls that makes me want to punch them in the face (jealousy). There is also something about your dead brother’s ex-girlfriend that makes me fucking nuts (The feeling that my brother spent so much time, I was denied, with a twat of woman, when his days were numbered.). I continuously have to tell myself that she lost someone too, when Tyson died. The truth is I don’t want to admit that I am still haunted by my brother’s death. I don’t want to admit that I can live just fine without my brother either and I sure as hell don’t want to admit that I am scared I never really knew my brother at all. Because in the end, admitting any of it doesn’t take the pain away and it sure as hell doesn’t bring him back.
“Hello?” Mel’s voice is sounding in my ears, “ hello?” Apparently in my jealous rage, I called Mel back.
“ Hey!” I finally chime in.
“ Oh my God, so, I am assuming you got my message.”
I bite my bottom lip, and take a breath in without exhaling.
“So that’s a yes then,” she laughs. God, Mel has such a great sense of humor. I would be devastated if I knew my man fooled around on me. And here she is giggling at my awkwardness.
“ Yep!” I blurt out, “ So….”
“ So… what are you doing today?” She asks. By this time I have raided the freezer and am eating ice cream out of the tub. I slowly lick the spoon and respond with a full mouth of mint chocolate chip.
“ Being a fat bum,” I choke out.
“ Let’s go to the beach!” Mel bursts. Hell yeah, let’s fucking go to the beach! That sounds awesome! Immediately, I am interested.
“ Ok!” I say with as much energy I can muster.
“ Where are you right now?” she asks.
“ At my parents in Temecula. Wanna meet off the 15 and go to Newport?”
“ Perfect!” Mel responds. We hang up and I know this is an awesome decision for both of us. All I have to do is lay on a towel all day and soak up sun. Fuck. Did I pack a swimsuit? Yes, I did, because I always over pack and if I don’t, half of my wardrobe is in my trunk anyway.
By 1:15pm we are both basking in the sunlight. Mel is in a sexy bright yellow bikini laying on her back, but propping herself up with her elbows. She could be a model. I am in a black one piece with black shorts caking on sunscreen. I would feel intimidated by Mel’s gorgeous body being compared to mine, but I already know she would win and you only live once so go to the fucking beach, despite how you feel about your body. I can feel the sunrays on my skin and I feel instantly happy. I can’t wait to dive into the ocean. That is the other thing about me. Most twenty-seven year olds will be on the beach reading a cosmo magazine with tanning oil. I am caking on sunscreen reading an actual book that I only glance at when I am not jumping in the waves like a ten year old. I don’t care how crappy my hair looks or how much sand goes up my vag, if I get to play in the ocean, it’s worth it.
“Alright,” Mel finally says after I come back from playing in the waves for an hour. I nod, I know she is ready to open up this can of worms that has been patiently eating away at her.
“ Well, I don’t really want to relive the details of it, but basically, I was at his house last night and he could see that something was up. And he was doting on me, moreso than usual. So finally he asks me, ‘What’s up with you?’ I just responded, ‘Were you with someone else last night?’ He could see it on my face. He knew that I knew.” There are tears starting to form in Mel’s eyes. Sometimes I feel like she has emotions of steel. I mean I cry over everything all the time, I have seen Mel tear up maybe twice… in my life.
“What did he say?” I ask softly.
“ He admitted it, point blank. ‘Yes, I was.’ And then I said ok and left.” Tears are streaming down her face. Tears are building up in my eyes because I hate seeing people cry. Hey, I told you I cry over everything.
Mel continues, “ I mean, I knew it. I knew this was just a matter of time. I was surprised that he hadn’t done it before. I asked him how many there were before this. And he said this was the first time. It felt like the truth. I know this sounds awful, but I don’t feel as betrayed because he was honest about it. And because he was honest, makes me feel like I can live with it.” Mel reads the expression on my face saying what the fuck do you mean, “live with it”?
“What I mean is, this isn’t one of those things where, you cheated on me so we are going to break up. This is, we still have a part of our foundation that hasn’t been broken. He has always been open and honest with me. When he broke up with me before, he was honest. And now, I suspected something and he was honest, which is almost more important. I mean, I can see his point of view. He looks at sex like a sport. It’s just a fuck. When we have sex, it’s love making, do you see what I mean?”
The worst part is that this time I actually do see what she means. As women, there is something we give up by being in relationships with men. We have come to a point in which women are losing the battle of the sexes. Men are reclaiming themselves by not giving a fuck. They don’t give a fuck if they have sex with other women, if they knock a girl up or if they just don’t want to leave a concert for a fucking 80s party. But, because men are caring less and less, women are becoming more and more desperate. We are settling for people who cheat on us, we are settling for people who make us get the bill, and we are settling for people who make us drive six hundred miles to gloat in our face when our teams lose! Although none of this is news. Women have been fighting this battle for centuries. The only difference is now we take pride in selling ourselves.
“ I do,” I reply. We both know she is not going to break up with him, so instead we try and work out incentives for him to make it easy on her. Things such as, every time he cheats he owes her a steak dinner, or a night at a gay club, no he would enjoy that too much. The sun starts to go down over the water. We pack up our sandy towels and head to the car. As I sit my sun burned body slowly into the car, we both hear my phone go off. It’s a number I don’t recognize. I click ignore. My phone rings again almost immediately. I answer, semi annoyed, “Hello?”
“ Ally?” Ally? Nobody has called my Ally since I was in high school. Oh another random Ashley fact, I went by Ally for the first seventeen years of my life. The reason is there were so many girls named Ashley in all my classes and virtually no one named Ally. I like to be unique.
“Um, Yes,” I reply. The voice on the other end is shaking. It’s a man.
“ This is Shane, Shane Simmons.” Holy Fuck. Shane Simmons? Let me tell you, Shane Simmons is oldest son to Sandra Simmons. Sandra was my mentor as a child. I was at her house more often than my own. We put on plays together. She taught me how to make grilled cheese. She taught me a lot about women hood, none of which I listened to. But needless to say, she was a second mother to me. She always called me her surrogate daughter, but I am pretty sure she had a dozen of those. She didn’t have any daughters of her own, just sons. She had always wanted a little girl. I always wanted a stay at home mom. I guess that’s why we made a great team. I haven’t seen her since I graduated high school.
“ Hey Shane,” I respond. How did he get my number? It’s been like ten years.
“ I got your number from Tiffany, apparently she went to- you had a party last night?”
“Oh, yeah.” That’s how.
“ Anyway,” he starts to say, “ I just wanted to let you know that, um…”
Oh Dear God, I think, is he going to ask me out? That would be weird. Plus, I thought this guy always hated me, or at least he never made and effort to be my friend. I think he was always annoyed that some chubby younger girl was at his house every Saturday morning when we were kids.
“ Are you ok?” I say bluntly. Sorry! This was getting weird, what the fuck was I supposed to do wait patiently for him to find his words.
Mel hears me and sees the contortion on my face, which makes her burst out laughing, which makes me snicker and I am pretty sure Shane heard this because he got pissed, Stat.
“ No I am not ok! My mom’s fucking dead, thought you should know!”
Click. The line goes dead. Holy fucking shit.