The divorce went rather quickly and easily, as far as divorces go. Two years of marriage dissolved in less than six months. I got the assets, which had been mine before the I-do’s. He got our dog and the dog trainer, who was the sole reason for the divorce, anyway. Well, not the sole reason..it does take two to tango, as my mother likes to say.
Now that Jeff and I were no longer a we, I decided it was time to concentrate on me. I needed to get my life back together, stop wallowing in the fact I was dumped for a Barbie doll dog whisperer. We had only been married a little over two years by the time the judge declared us to have irreconcilable differences and slammed the mallet down on the huge wooden desk, granting me permission to reclaim my maiden name.
I pulled into my driveway and let out a breath that I honestly had no clue I had been holding. I wasn’t ready to call my mom yet to tell her it was finally over, I didn’t want to listen to her go on and on about how lucky I was that this happened with the dog trainer. That it could have been worse, it could have been the nanny. No, Jeff and I were the parents of a couple fur-babies, no genetics had come together to produce a mini-us.
Actually, I couldn’t remember the last time Jeff and I had sex. At least a year ago, right around the time Candy, the Barbie doll, entered our lives with a killer bod and a knack for keeping dogs in line. I hadn’t been in the least bit worried, I knew my husband loved me and would never look twice at a vacuous blonde with a baby’s voice. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I ran my fingers through my mess of curly black hair and grabbed my purse. I had stuff to do and obsessing wasn’t one of them. Jeff wasn’t worth another thought, he had moved on and we were done. I should have been thrilled the mess was over yet my ego wouldn’t let it go. That ego of mine, what a bitch.
Unlocking the side door, I entered the kitchen and looked around, half expecting to be greeted by Ruckus, the pitbull I had lost custody of. Instead, Tika the Tabby cat who had been around since Pre-Jeff, blinked her yellow eyes at me, meowed and pounced toward her empty food bowl.
“Hold on, brat. Let me walk in the door before you start making your demands.” I tossed my purse down and grabbed a can of wet food. Tika wailed at me, obviously lecturing me about how I neglected her.
Once her bowl was full and she was lapping up her foul smelling food, I threw myself down onto the couch and stared at the ceiling, my eyes following a crack I hadn’t noticed before. My cellphone was dangling from my hand and I was debating who to call first, my mom or Camille, my best friend from forever. Camille was the better option.
“Tash,” The phone barely even rang before her deep, sing-song voice answered, “I’ve been waiting. How’d it go?”
“Oh, you know. It went. He had the nerve to bring Barbie doll with him to court, can you even?” I heard her snort and I smiled. The girl would always and forever have my back.
“I can’t. What a douche-canoe.” I could hear her shuffling papers and knew she must be at work, she was a legal secretary. She worked for her dad, a famous in our town criminal attorney. She was the highest paid assistant in the world.
“Wanna go celebrate my official freedom tonight?” I glanced at my fingers and decided I’d have to go get them done before I even considered a night on the town, “Mani-pedi’s first?”
“Sounds good, Tash. Make us appointments, I’ll be out of here by five and I’ll come get you. Wear something sexy, we’re going dancing.” More rustling and a male voice, “I’ll need to borrow something to wear. Okay?”
“Good. See ya later.” We blew kisses and the line went dead. She never said goodbye. I should know that by now, we’d only been best friends since sixth grade.
Deciding to get it over with, I dialed my mother and braced myself for her lecture. I realized the woman meant well but it was all in her presentation, she came across as a controlling bitch all the time. That was why my brother rarely spoke to her, he couldn’t stand her constant need to control.
Unlike Camille, my mom picked up on the third ring. Most likely, she realized she hadn’t been the first call I made and chances are, she was sulking, “Mom?”
“Natasha, dear. How are you? I’ve been worried sick. It’s been hours since you left to go to court. I thought something happened.” I could picture her, sitting on her overstuffed couch with Princess the poodle in her lap while she stroked the damn thing as she pouted into the phone.
“I’m fine, Mom. Really. I just had to, ah, run a couple errands before I got home. Cat food and tampons.” So, I lied. I know, I’ll probably go to hell for all the times I avoided the truth when it came to my mother.
“Uh-huh. Whatever you say dear. So, tell me…how did it go?” She was digging for the finance settlement.
Twirling a curl between my fingers, I sighed, “Mom, it wasn’t a long enough marriage for an alimony. I think a marriage has to be about ten years old or something. I don’t know. He got the dog. I got the house, Tika and I got to keep my money.”
My mom let out an audible sigh, “Oh thank god, your father would roll in his grave if he thought that gold digging piece of garbage would have gotten one red cent from you.” That’s all my mom cared about, the money. When my dad died, his life insurance and wise picks in the stock market left our family with quite a few million dollars. And, my mother lived the life of a millionaires widow.
“Nope, I’m good. It’s all good. Life is grand.” I didn’t want to discuss this anymore, I just didn’t want the lecture. I wanted to finish the conversation and make the manicure appointments, “So, how’s Princess?” Switching subjects to her favorite child, the dog, was a perfect move.
I could almost hear her plastic cheeks pull into a grin, “Oh, my pookums is just wonderful. We had a nice walk with Delores. Didn’t we, my widdle Pwincess?” She sounded like a new mom talking to her baby. God, I hope whenever I have kids, I never sound like that. It’s just gross.
“That’s great. I’m glad you had a nice day. Anyway Mom, I have to get ready to go. Camille is coming soon. Gonna go celebrate.” I stood up and walked the short hallway to my bedroom. It was time to start inspecting the clothing situation.
“That’s nice, dear. Have a good time. Love you. Mwah.”
“Love you, too. Bye, Mom.” I didn’t wait for her to response. I tapped the ‘end call’ button and tossed my phone onto my unmade king sized bed.
As I looked through my closet, I found the killer little black dress I had bought to wear for our year anniversary. “Perfect!” A celebratory dress for a different type of celebratory reason. I grabbed my hot pink dress for Camille, I knew she’s been eyeballing it ever since I bought it at Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale a couple months ago.
I had two hours before Camille arrived so after the mani/pedi appointment was made, I took a really hot, leisurely shower and threw my hair into rollers to tame the curls into waves. Standing in the middle of my bedroom, Tika made a figure eight through my freshly shaven legs and then love-nipped my calf.
For the first time in six months, I didn’t know what to do with myself. Emotionally, I mean. Physically, I was getting ready to go out. But, my insides didn’t know how they should be reacting and I suddenly felt like I was on a rollercoaster. Luckily, I hadn’t put my face on because, before I even realized what was happening, a torrential onslaught of hot tears made their way down my freshly scrubbed face.
I sank into my Heavenly bed, the mattress had been a splurge after I stayed at the Westin in Chicago. I don’t care what anyone says, the Heavenly bed is the most comfortable thing on the planet, there is nothing like it. And, it’s the perfect place to have a good cry, too. Actually, any bed is good for that. My mattress just makes it even more perfect.
When I had met Jeff, I had just turned 21. I was bar-crawling with Camille and a couple other friends for my birthday. As it pushed 1am, we hit the last bar of the night. It was kind of a divey place, filled with a combination of hipsters and goths but none of them fraternizing with the other. Jeff was with the hipsters but he wasn’t quite one. He was just the hot, normal looking friend who didn’t fit in anywhere in that bar. Actually, we didn’t either. Which was what got us talking.
While my friends picked up hipsters and goths, I sat and chatted with Jeff. Physically, he really hadn’t been my type. I liked the tall, dark and brooding. He was tall, blonde and bouncy. At first, I wondered if he was gay. Which hey, that would have been fine, I had always wanted a gay bff. But, he turned out to be completely straight and from that night on, he was mine. Well, mine for the next three and a half years, until he became hers. But, whatever.
My mom and brother hated him immediately. I never really understood why. I’m not sure they did, either. I figured they would hate anyone I brought around. No one was good enough for our family, the nouveau riche. As it turned out, none of my friends liked him either. Camille kept her mouth shut until I told her about his little affair. That’s when she had announced her pent up, repressed feelings. And, by announced, I meant screamed every single word at me. When I asked her why she hadn’t spoken up sooner, she told me it was because I was so freaking stubborn, I wouldn’t have listened anyway.
She was right. I was freaking stubborn. And, I definitely wouldn’t have listened. I’m the type that needs to find things out for myself, even if it’s the hard way. When I get my mind set on something, that’s it, I go after it. When I hit a brick wall, I either try to barrel through it or I come to a dead stop with a broken face. There’s no in-between with me. That’s probably my greatest fault. Well, one of them.
I allowed myself a few more minutes to wallow in self pity while Tika sat on my hip and purred. Actually, self pity gets trumped by a cat purring on your hip. Because, said cat forces you to scratch its jaw which, in turn, makes you forget you were crying. No wonder animals are said to have healing properties, they are completely perfect for what ails you.
Wiping at my face with my cat-furry hands, I pushed the pest off of me and padded toward the bathroom to paint on a mask of bravado with contour, concealer and all the other products necessary. When I was somewhat content with the way I turned out, I forced myself into a pair of black Spanx, tucking in the overspill at my waist. Feeling like an overstuffed sausage, I slid into my perfect little black dress, not too dressy and not too casual. When I slipped into my favorite pair of strappy wedge sandals, I realized I was ready for whatever mischief Camille would get us into tonight. She was the queen of mischief and merriment. It was time to reclaim my throne next to hers.