One week before the Fourth of July a few years ago I walked into the cable store to switch my cable service to my new address. I carried my emancipation papers in my hand, otherwise known as, the divorce decree, that proved my name change. Years before this moment I mastered the fine art of reframing. I knew how to bake cakes from strange ingredients, make gallons of lemonade, and clean bathrooms to a sparkling shiny. I knew to rename traumas, terrific saltwater taffy chewing contests, or Pizza Parties.
I remembered a friend in college saying to me, “Laura, challenges build character.”
Well, if that’s accurate then I’d become a larger than life, Minnie Mouse, or a tall as a skyscraper amalgam of Maria, from the “Sound of Music,” Hermione Granger from “Harry Potter,” and the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man. I definitely qualified to be the Jolly Green Giant complete with short brown hair, dangling earrings, sunglasses, and a cute pencil skirt.
With my e-papers in hand and too many months of touch deprivation, I immediately spotted the WOW! Cable guy in his blue t-shirt with the WOW! Logo on his left pec—devastatingly tall, dark, and handsome. Like a scene in a movie, everyone else blurred into the background. A glowing light formed all around him or was that sunshine streaming in from the window behind him? I took a deep breath, blinked my eyes, and noticed a line of women had formed behind his spot at the counter. With a brief sideways glance, I saw that another cable employee, a short man with thick black glasses, stood to the right of WOW! Guy. Black glasses man only had two people in his line. I got in WOW! Guy’s line, a choice that allowed me to pretend not to stare through my widening eye pupils and pant quietly under my breath, or through my flaring nostrils.
When I arrived at the counter, I proceeded to beam my most radiant smile ever. I attempted to not drop my jaw and drool as he remained focused on his computer screen. He barely looked at me. I handed him my papers while assuring him of my singlehood. I made a couple of dumb jokes, began to laugh at my own jokes.
“Did you just snort?” he asked without moving his eyes from his computer screen.
“No, oh, Well, yes, yes, I did snort a bit.” As I giggled. I fully realized I could not stop my ridiculous, godawful gushing.
“So, do you want a D marked on the form?” he asked, again, staring at his screen.
“Oh, No! I’ve never earned a final grade of D, ever! Put an “S” there for smart, summa cum laude, and sensuous!”
Somehow, he kept a straight face though I noticed a tiny smirk began to creep onto his dreamy lips.
Unstoppable, I kept up my floundering flirting as I finally wished him a Happy 4th of July.
“I hope you experience lots of fireworks! I know I will! Happy Fourth of July!”
All juiced up by the glow of my unexpected, utterly unfettered, foolish self, I thought as I left, D is for dysfunction, derailed, disconnected, disappeared. S on the other hand holds the magic of who I am now, Single. Sexy. Smart, Shameless.
I knew that the only fireworks I’d experience that holiday would be in the sky.
Yet, I couldn’t stop smiling from the rush of chemicals likely floating around in my body even though I only fantasized that he had glanced at me, that he had smiled at me, and handed me his number on his business card.
Having swum for too long in murky pools of failure, I searched and found freedom, the joy of S for Staley, and maybe someday I would read the book the Joy of Sex, or get some lessons on the fine art of flirting.