Since the start of the pandemic, I have been utilizing the Walmart pickup app. I’m not too fond of grocery shopping with large groups of people because I live in a small town and will inevitably run into someone I know, and I don’t want to spend any more time in the store than necessary, especially at Walmart.
Recently, however, I stopped at some of the quaint local stores around town to purchase some gifts for my penpals. I needed just a few more items that those stores failed to carry, so I made the trek up to Walmart. While I was there, I decided to grab the ingredients for my infamous macaroni salad because I had been craving it (I found a way to make it healthier, too, which I’m thrilled about!)
One of the ingredients in the macaroni salad is sharp cheddar, and if you know me, you know I take my cheese very seriously. My favorite is Cabot Vermont Seriously Sharp, so I made my way over to the dairy section, and that’s when I heard it…
“The Nothing Fight!”
The wife was a small, petite woman, and she was older, but not elderly, I’m guessing early to mid-’60s. Her husband, on the other hand, was a giant. He had to have been at least 6’3″ and slightly overweight yet toned. When she yelled at him, it looked like Tinkerbell was giving attitude to the Hulk.
“For the love of… ” Tinkerbell trailed off, “It’s just cheese, grab the Kraft.”
The Hulk, (who looked as though TInkerbell just informed him Thor is the greatest Avenger,) glared at his wife, and in a low growl replied, “How. Dare. You.”
Tinkerbell egged him on by placing her hands on her hips and saying, “Just grab the Kraft!“
“Just grab the Kraft!?” The Hulk shrieked.. By this point, I had tears stinging my eyes from holding back laughter, a trait I’ve never been great at mastering, which explains the multiple coughs I had to fake to cover up the sudden outbursts; I could never make it on SNL, I’d pull a 1999 Jimmy Fallon and ruin every sketch!
The Hulk pulled at his hair and turned back to the cheese, where the section on the shelf reserved for Cabot was empty…
Save for one that The Hulk overlooked but caught my eye.
“I can’t just get the Kraft, Honey,” he said in the most unloving way as if the term ‘Honey’ was a synonym for ‘Bitch.’
“Kraft is shit, and Cabot is a gift from the cheese gods!” (Okay, so I may have made this part up, but The Hulk was very passionate about Cabot cheese.)
I reached behind the Hulk, inconspicuously picking up the last pack of Cabot cheese…
“I understand about the Cabot; I can’t do Kraft either,” I interjected.
“See!? See!?” The Hulk asked in a way to prove he’s not insane.
Tinkerbell shot me the stink eye, and I held my hands up in surrender. “Sorry,” I whispered while returning to my cart, happily walking away with the last package of Cabot. At the same time, The Hulk continued to lecture Tinkerbell on how Cabot is the king of the cheese, and Kraft is an insult to cheeses everywhere.
I mean, no offense to Kraft cheese eaters. Would you please not flood my inbox with hate mail?
And, if you run into The Hulk, please don’t tell him that I took the last Cabot Seriously Sharp cheddar.
Before I start into this story I want to apologize for jumping around so much. I appreciate all of the support you guys give me; however, I know what I am capable of, and the stories I have been writing are poor in comparison. I’ve been in a deep funk, and I’m pulling myself out of it. I will eventually go back and fix the stories I have started so I can end them, but for now, I hope you enjoy….
Searching for Harry
The sun settled that night, taking the last day of August and the sweltering summer humidity with it. Aiden cursed under his breath as his best friend pulled up to the curb in his red 1984 Camaro. It was bad enough Brad was good looking and smoother than the cream cheese Aiden spread on his morning bagel, but he had a cool car to boot.
“How are ye?” Brad asked, his Scottish lilt only adding insult to injury.
Aiden looked at Brad, who looked like a more handsome version of John Bender from The Breakfast Club. Aiden looked down at his Springsteen shirt and popped the collar on his dark blue jean jacket before getting in the car.
“So much denim,” Aiden replied.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.” Aiden leaned his head back against the headrest and closed his eyes.
“Ye gotta get over thee lil’ red-headed gal.” Brad patted his friends’ shoulder before speeding off towards to bar.
“Who am I, Charlie Brown?” Aiden asked sardonically.
Meanwhile, across town in an adorable bungalow nestled in a sleepy seaside Maine town, Serena stared at herself in the mirror.
“I look like an ’80’s hooker going to the prom,” Serena yelled out so her friend, Alyssa, who was applying mascara in the bathroom, could hear.
Alyssa laughed as she gave herself one last look in the mirror before joining her friend in the bedroom.
“You look gorgeous.” Alyssa complimented.
Serena spun on her heel so she could look at her friend. Serena was wearing a bright blue dress, the bodice hugged her, the sleeves and skirt were poufy, and the skirt stopped mid-thigh. She wore black stockings and neon blue stilettos to complete the outfit.
“I don’t normally wear dresses this short,” Serena pulled at her skirt, “Or poufy.” She looked up at her friend.
Alyssa giggled. “You know I think you were beautiful before you lost the weight, but you have this gorgeous hourglass figure and long, shapely legs. Show them off!”
Serena sighed. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”
“How many more opportunities are you going to get to travel back to the ’80s?” Alyssa asked.
“That depends on if I can get my hands on a DeLorean.” Serena winked, before heading out the door.
Aiden and Brad arrived at the bar, and every woman turned to look at Brad as he made his way over to the bartender. Aiden didn’t even bother noticing the women noticing his friend; in their 25 years of friendship, he had grown accustomed to his buddy getting all the attention from the ladies.
Aiden sat at the far end of the bar, nursing his “Sam Adams Octoberfest.” It was the only beer he could stand, and even then, it took him all night to drink one bottle. Brad stood next to him, one leg bent as he leaned against the wall. Even the way he stood was cool. Aiden rolled his eyes as women found excuses to get close to him. Aiden adored his friend, Brad was a good man, but he couldn’t help but feel envious from time to time. Just once, he wanted a woman to pay attention to him over Brad.
Serena tugged at the skirt of her dress as they entered the bar.
“Stop!” Alyssa pulled her friend’s arm away. “Just walk with confidence.”
Serena sighed as Alyssa tried to make her hair bigger than it already was. “You’re a single gal now,” Alyssa dropped her arms, and her face fell as she noticed the look on Serena’s face.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean….”
Serena put a hand up to stop her friend. “I know. I’ll just never find another Mitch.”
“No,” Alyssa admitted, “You won’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find someone who will make you happy. Mitch would want you to be happy.”
Serena sighed a second time, “I know,” she smiled at her friend. “Come on, let’s go get a drink so we can get down to some ‘80s tunes.”
“Tunes.” Alyssa teased.
“Why does everyone give me crap for saying tunes!?” Serena’s voice rose an octave with each word.
Alyssa ordered a bottle of cabernet sauvignon for them to split as Serena turned to scan the crowd.
“She turned me into a newt!” Serena heard the man at the end of the bar say.
“I got bettah,” she yelled in a terrible British accent, loud enough for him to hear.
He looked up at her, smiling as soon as their eyes met.
“My accent is terrible, I know,” she confessed.
The man at the end of the bar chuckled. “I’m just impressed you picked up on the reference.”
When Alyssa approached with the wine and two glasses, Serena motioned towards the man at the end of the bar, and Alyssa was immediately taken with the man with the salt and peppered hair standing next to him.
“Wait,” Alyssa said as she shook her hair. “How do I look?”
“Like an ‘80s hooker going to prom.” Serena retorted.
Alyssa rolled her eyes. “You’re lucky I love you.”
“I am.” Serena agreed.
“He’s wearing a Yankees hat. Are you okay with that?” Alyssa whispered as they made their way over to the men at the end of the bar.
“Well, he knows Monty Python, so he gets points for that, and I mean, Billy Crystal loves the Yankees, so if I can forgive him, maybe I can forgive this guy.”
Alyssa chuckled. “Maybe he’s your Harry.”
Serena smiled. “Let’s just hope he’s in search of Sally.”
I am currently in Baltimore, visiting family. I have enjoyed some quality time with my one-year-old niece, who loves to laugh as much as I do and can make me laugh with a simple grunt or a smile so wide, the sun shines just to highlight it.
I had a heart-to-heart with my grandmother, whom I opened up to about the fear of losing my husband. I reassured her that nothing significant is making me believe it’s going to be tomorrow or anything, just a voice screaming at me to make as many memories as I can with him now. Neil and I both have a feeling that time for us is running shorter. I try not to dwell on it, though, and focus on being in the present moment; still, it was helpful to open up to Grandma.
Surprisingly, I found myself opening up to Aunt Theresa about a subject that I have only ever discussed with Neil and Amanda. We started talking about Mother Theresa. Regardless of where I stand on religion, I have always aspired to be like Mother Theresa and adopt her “Give what I don’t need” philosophy. I am a firm believer in “Build a longer table, not a higher fence.” Anyway, Mother Theresa had many doubts about God’s existence. I confessed to Aunt Theresa that I have been having the same. When Mother Theresa said, “I don’t feel God anymore.” I’m there. I haven’t felt God’s presence in a very long time. It used to upset me, but now, I feel nothing. It was nice talking to someone spiritual who didn’t shove scripture down my throat or tell me that it’s just the devil and I’m falling victim to temptation and blah, blah, blah. (This isn’t the first time I have had doubts, but this is the first time where I’m not sure that I believe.)
I feel better having written it down. I admit I have been putting off this post for quite some time because I was afraid of the kinds of comments I might get. I figured one of three things could happen:
Someone might say they will pray for me. I know what this means, and I consider it a kindness. I would never judge anyone for their faith, and I admire those who have it. Sometimes, I wish I still did.
Someone might understand. Maybe it will get some conversations going. Perhaps it will urge someone to open up to someone who will listen without judgment. I’m happy to offer a nonjudgmental ear for anyone who might need one.
I might receive unsolicited advice, and quite possibly, some angered messages about how I’m going to spend eternity in hell for turning my back on God. If you are one of these people, please pray for me from a distance because all you will manage to do is make me feel sad for you, and I don’t want to feel sad on my vacation!
In addition to the wonderful, deep, and philosophical conversations I’ve been having, I have been making memories I will look back on fondly, and getting my Baltimore staples (cheesesteak, Chinese, snowball, and crab cake) while still managing to eat mostly healthy, consume lots of water, and remain active. Go me!
Today, while standing in line at a snowball stand, I had a sort of strange encounter. The man standing in front of me started making small talk, which anyone who knows me knows I’m not a fan of, but how else does one start a conversation with a stranger? After the typical “Hi, how are you?” chat, this stranger had an idea to break the small-talk.
“I bet I can guess your profession,” He said.
“Feel free to try,” I replied.
“The dental field.” He guessed.
I was surprised, and I knew my body language told him as such. “I used to be a dental assistant.”
“I knew it!” He clapped his hands.
His daughter, who I’m guessing was no older than eight, told me that I was really pretty, so pretty that I could be a Disney princess.
I gushed about how pretty she was and thanked her for making me feel so special! Sometimes, we receive sweet memories from strangers. I will never forget the day a little girl made me feel beautiful when I wasn’t even wearing makeup!
As the little girl and her dad went to leave, the little girl told me it was so nice to meet me, and the dad thanked me for all the teeth I saved.
The three ladies were waiting outside when Kent pulled up to the front of the hotel in his RV. It was small, nothing fancy, but Serena liked that.
The butterflies in her stomach had risen to her throat as she watched him step out of the RV.
“The collar on his jacket is popped!” Serena promised herself she wouldn’t act like an over-crazed fangirl in front of him, so she had to get it out of her system before he approached her.
“What is it with you and popped collars?” Isabella asked.
“I can’t explain why, but they drive me crazy.”
He was wearing a Yankees ball cap.
Serena sighed, “All my favorite photographers are Yankees fans.” she said loudly enough for him to hear.
He flashed her a shit-eating grin as he stopped directly in front of her. “I’m not sure I can allow you in my RV with that shirt.” He retorted.
“Fine,” She spun on her heel and turned as if she were about to leave.
Kent gently grabbed her elbow to stop her. She turned her head and met his gaze. For a moment, she had forgotten about the butterflies, but now, looking into his beautiful brown eyes she could feel them fluttering.
Kent’s touch on her elbow lingered for a few seconds, and Katarina and Isabella exchanged knowing looks.
He allowed his fingers to graze down her arm until he reached her hand. He gently grabbed her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing the back of it. “It’s a pleasure to officially meet you,” he smiled at her.
Being the old soul that she was, Serena was impressed by his old-fashioned greeting. She found him charming.
“Please don’t go,” he pleaded.
Serena watched his eyes soften, but she caught the mischievous glint in his eye, and a sly grin slightly cross his face before he uttered,
“You’re past your forty-eight-hour return policy, and I’d feel bad spending your money on a new Yankees hat, but as you can see,” he pointed to the worn ball cap on his head, “I need a new one.”
She threw her head back in laughter. “Well, we can’t have that, now can we!?”
Serena’s laugh was like music to Kent’s ears. He had always found himself elated when he made an attractive woman laugh, but there was something about her laugh. It was boisterous yet feminine and genuine. Her laughter wasn’t faked just to appease his ego. She was genuinely laughing at his joke, and he found it incredibly sexy. He hoped he could keep her laughing for the entire ten days.
“Look at the way he looks at her,” Amanda gushed.
“And the way she looks at him.” Katrina retorted.
Kent cleared his throat. “May. I. Um.” He stammered. He closed his eyes and clenched his jaw. “Get it together, Kent,” he scolded himself internally.
“May I take your bags for you?” He offered.
“Oh, yes, please,” she handed him her oversized duffle bag, suitcase, and backpack.”
Kent stood there staring at her blankly.
“I’ll keep this with me,” she said, referring to her camera bag.
Kent nodded in understanding. “I’ll give you time to say goodbye to your friends.”
He turned around and began to walk away, “And so you can tell them how handsome you think I am.” He yelled over his shoulder.
Serena turned around, continuing to walk, backward, “You’re awfully sure of yourself.” She yelled back.
“You’re not denying it,” he said as he continued to walk away.
She sighed in defeat and spun on her heel to make her way over to her friends. “Dammit,” she whispered under her breath.
Although Serena couldn’t see it, Kevin wore a grin the size of Texas for the entire trek back to the RV. He placed her belongings in the back of the RV. He checked himself out in the side-view mirror, pretending to adjust his hat in case she turned back to look at him. “Oh, please turn back around to look at me.” He hoped.
Kent pulled the collar of the back of his jacket up and adjusted the sides. He walked in front of the RV and leaned against it, crossing his left leg over his right, keeping both legs straight. He crossed his arms across his chest as he patiently waited and enjoyed the view of her interacting with her friends.
Serena skipped the last few steps to her friends, and they embraced her in a hug, all of them giggling like schoolgirls.
“Shhh,” Serena instructed through her giggles as she brought a pointer finger up to her lips.
“Do you have any questions about if he’s attracted to you now?” Isabella asked proudly.
“Well, you don’t have to be such a smart ass about it.” Serena retorted.
The ladies broke into laughter.
Kent knew right then, and there he would never tire of watching her laugh.
“He’s tall!” Katarina kept peering over Serena’s shoulder to gaze at him.
“And he hasn’t taken his eyes off of you.” Katarina giggled.
Serena was just about to turn around, but both Isabella and Katarina stopped her.
“Dammit,” Kent muttered, not loudly enough for the women to hear.
“Did you know he was that tall?” Isabella asked.
“No.” Serena swooned. “I knew he was tall, but I didn’t know he was THAT tall.”
Katarina’s smile widened. “I have one last question.”
“What’s that?” Serena asked.
Katarina raised one eyebrow and gave her a pointed look, “If the opportunity arises – “
She didn’t even have to finish her question before Serena replied in understanding. “I’m gonna climb him like a tree,” Serena motioned to Kent with her head.
Kent could not help the smile that crossed his face knowing she was talking about him; then, he grew a little anxious when all three of them directly broke out into gut-wrenching laughter.
“We should go,” Serena stated. “I don’t want to be rude and keep him waiting.”
“So considerate of you,” Katarina said as she wrapped an arm around Serena’s shoulders as she and Isabella walked back to the RV with her.
She stopped right in front of Kent, not quite invading his personal space.
“Are you ready?” Kent asked her.
Serena spun on her heel and hugged her friends one last time.
“Thank you again!” She exclaimed, “You ladies are the best friends I could ask for.”
“His feet are big too!” Isabella whispered in her ear.
“Stop that!” Serena guffawed.
“See you ladies in 10 days!”
Serena waved and blew kisses to her friends as she walked backward towards the RV.
Kent held the passenger door open for Serena, and he offered her his hand to help her get into the RV since it was a steep step into it.
“Thank you,” she said as she took his hand.
Kent nodded his response and took advantage of the opportunity to check out her long, denim-clad legs.
He turned and faced Serena’s friends. “Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”
“We didn’t tell her about the discount,” Katarina confirmed his suspicions.
“Thank you.” He responded.
“Take care of our girl,” Isabella told him.
“Don’t worry,” Kent winked at her, “She’s in very good hands.”
Both ladies giggled.
Kent let out a little chuckle before he swung himself into the driver’s seat of the RV, quickly and gracefully with his long legs.
Serena leaned across Kent to wave goodbye to her friends, and he caught the scent of her shampoo as her hair wafted by his nose. He found her scent intoxicating.
Serena sat back in her seat and fastened her seatbelt.
“I made three playlists for the trip.” He informed her.
“It’s only a two-hour trip.” She reminded him.
“I can get bored easily and like to switch it up sometimes.”
“Oh, I understand that.” Her response was a welcomed surprise. His friends often teased him about it.
Her choice of classic rock pleased him, but then again, he supposed he would have been happy with any choice she made, given the fact he created each playlist.
As he pulled onto the road, Kent honked the horn.
Serena waved to her friends, the wind blowing her hair, and Kevin had to use all his energy to keep his focus on the road.
For whatever reason, the Bluetooth had some trouble connecting, but when it finally did, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), by the Proclaimers, filled the vehicle.
“I love this song!” Serena exclaimed before she started singing along and dancing in her seat.
“She’s so adorable,” Kent thought to himself. He smiled because what she didn’t know was that he knew this was one of those songs she couldn’t help but sing along to. Kent did his research, and he hid a few of her favorite songs throughout each playlist. He had no idea when or how often they would play because the playlist was placed on shuffle, but he purposefully planned the playlist to only last minutes before their arrival; he was very thorough that way.
They made eye contact for a brief moment, and for the first time in his life, Kevin found himself enjoying a road trip.
* Author’s note: I realize this story fell on the back burner. I am sorry it has taken me so long to get back to it, but the past three weeks have been insanely stressful. Things have seemed to calm to their normal stress levels, so I have returned to it.
I promise, the next installment will pick up the pace!
Love & life lessons,
Glencoe Dreams, Part Three
The day had finally arrived! In a little over three hours, Serena was going to come face-to-face with the man she had been crushing on for the past six months.
It was currently 4:50 am in Glasgow, Scotland, and the sun was just beginning to peek above the city. Serena captured snapshot after snapshot of the perfect reflection of the sky and skyline in the water below. Serena smiled, pleased with her work. She sat her camera down on the glass table beside her on the balcony of her hotel suite and picked up her coffee cup. She gently leaned against the railing and took in the breathtakingly beautiful view before her. Colors of pink, yellow, and orange painted the sky, reflected in the clouds and mirrored in the calm water below, made for a work of prismatic art.
“Wow,” She heard Isabella whisper behind her so as not to wake Katarina.
“This is worth getting up before 5:00 am for,” Isabella said, not able to tear her eyes away from the sky as she joined her friend on the balcony.
“I’ve missed these moments with you,” Serena confessed, reaching over to grab her friend’s hand.
“Me too.” Isabella squeezed her hand before releasing it to pick up her coffee mug.
“How are you feeling?” Isabella asked her.
“Like butterflies have made my stomach their sanctuary.”
“I don’t know what you’re so worried about; The man is absolutely smitten with you.” Isabella’s smile reached her eyes.
Surprisingly, Serena discovered the one thing that could tear her eyes away from a sunrise, and that was being caught off guard when it came to the first man who had piqued her interest since Mitch.
“What are you not telling me?” She asked.
Isabella quickly realized her error. “Um, uh, “she stammered, “I, I, it’s nothing. Y’know,” she paused to rub the back of her neck, a trait she often did when she was trying to think quickly.
“Y’know, I’ve always thought he’s had a thing for you.”
“No, that’s not it.” Serena glared at her friend, who was looking down at her feet. “I’ve known you for twenty-four years; I know when you’re hiding something from me.”
“Fuck!” Isabella ran her hands down her face, stopping at her mouth. She finally made eye contact with her friend. “I can’t tell you.”
“Because it’s for your own good.”
Serena scoffed, “Keeping me guessing whether he actually likes me or not is for my own good?”
“What makes you think he doesn’t like you?”
“One,” Serena put her left pointer finger over her underhanded right pointer finger as she shifted her weight to her right hip. “He’s never called me pretty or beautiful.”
“He knows you’re widowed. Maybe he’s just being respectful.”
“Two,” She repeated the same motion with her middle fingers as she did with her pointers. “I’m constantly complementing his photography. I tell him things I love about it, and his artistic style and how his artist’s eye captures the perfect frames.”
“I tell him how well-written his stories are when he explains the memory behind the photo.”
“He has never once complimented anything of mine, save for a selfie.”
“Maybe he’s not much of a commenter.” Isabella tried to reassure her.
“Maybe he doesn’t think I’m good.” Serena pointed out.
“I just need you to trust me on this.” Isabella placed a comforting hand on Serena’s shoulder before walking back into the suite so she could wake Katarina and they could all start getting ready.
Serena took one last look at the sky before joining her friends. It always amazed her how quickly the clouds could change.
Knowing the chance of multiple stops and spontaneous hikes on the way to Glencoe was highly possible, Serena decided to dress casually. After an argument with Isabella over a pair of leggings, Serena went with a pair of jeans that did wonders for her butt and legs. She paired it with her Orioles tee shirt, a lightweight black jacket, and a pair of hiking boots. Serena parted her long, raven hair to the right and braided it to hang over her right shoulder. She decided not to bother with jewelry other than her rings which she never removed, and her Fitbit watch.
“How could he not think you’re gorgeous?” Isabella motioned both hands towards Serena.
“Do you not think he thinks you’re beautiful?” Katarina asked.
“I mean, I’m sure he finds me attractive.” Serena confessed, “What I mean is, I don’t know that he’s ever looked at my picture and thought, Wow, she’s beautiful.”
“Or I’d really like to kiss those lips.” Serena looked down at her feet.
Katarina placed a finger under her friend’s chin and lifted it until their eyes met. “I’ve never seen you like this.”
“It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about anyone,” Serena sighed and turned her head to let Isabella know she was talking to her as well. “What if he grows impatient with me?”
“Then he’s not the right one for you,” Isabella replied matter-of-factly. “You’ll still get this wonderful adventure. You’ll make a ton of memories, learn some new skills, or hone the ones you already have – “
“Hopefully, both!” Katarina interjected.
Serena smiled at her friend before turning her attention back to Isabella.
“He seems like a good guy, so even if he turns out to not be a romantic partner, at least, you’ll make a friend.” Isabella continued.
“See, this is why I need you.” Serena hugged her friend. “Thank you.”
“Both of you.” She let go of Isabella with one arm and welcomed Katarina into a group hug. “I’d be lost without my soul sisters.”
I have been doing a lot of deep thinking lately, and frequently, these thoughts lead to awkward and embarrassing thoughts. These awkward memories got me thinking about satire and how comedians often take awkward and embarrassing moments and find the humor in them. These thoughts continued to snowball until I came up with this idea for a blog post. This is how my brain works, and so it seems my entire life, like all of my kitchen appliances deciding to stop working, one right after the other in two months’ time!
Have you ever noticed how there are certain things no one ever tells you about becoming an adult? For example, I bet no one ever told you, you would have a favorite stove burner. Admit it; you do, don’t you? Mine’s the front right. Anyway, I digress. Why the hell didn’t any of the women in my family tell me how awkward visiting the gynecologist is!? The only stories I heard were horror stories about some medieval torcher device that spreads your vagina like it’s some kind of “Stretch Armstrong.”
I was in my early twenties the first time I went to the gynecologist. I wanted my mom to go with me, but she was sick and wasn’t able to. It was the start of her decline in health. Anyway, I thought about asking my friend, Amanda, to accompany me, and even though it was more than likely a weekday, I know she would have found a way to be there for me if I had, in fact, asked her. But I was a big girl. I could do this!
I walked in, legs freshly shaved, makeup, and hair on point just in case he was handsome. He turned out to be a woman, and that calmed my nerves just a little.
“Take off all of your clothes.” She demanded as soon as I closed the door behind me.
“All of them?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m going to fondle your breasts while I talk to you nonchalantly to make the situation as awkward as possible,” is not what she said, but I am taking advantage of the opportunity to apply foreshadowing.
She left me alone in the room and instructed me once again to remove all of my clothes, place a thin napkin over my lap and lie back and get comfortable.
Yeah, like I could relax while my hoo-ha was on display in front of this gorgeous woman who looked like she just walked out of a Vanity Fair Magazine. Thank goodness I shaved my legs! I’m not one to compare myself to other women, but she was intimidatingly beautiful.
She entered the room and could tell I was anxious, so she placed a gloved hand on my shoulder and tried to calm my nerves. She moved her hands down to my breasts and started to feel for lumps.
“Any plans for the upcoming holiday?” She asked as if fondling another woman’s breasts within minutes of meeting them was completely normal. Although, for her, I suppose it was.
Once she was satisfied with the state of my twins, she headed down south. For the record, no medieval torcher devices were used during my appointment.
“Oh my god!” Is not the words a lady wants to hear when someone places their face right near her cachucha, but it’s what I got.
Followed by, “Your toenails are so cute!”
I released a huge sigh of relief. “Thanks.”
She yelled for the nurse to come check out my toenails that had been painted like the American flag in honor of Independence Day.
Meanwhile, I’m laying there, spread eagle, exposed to the world, save for the thin napkin across my lap. I just wanted to get back to the task at hand!!
When they were finally done, I felt somewhat violated! I was poked, prodded, and scraped. I definitely deserved a London fog after that visit!
About a week later I received a call about my results. They weren’t good. I heard the three dreaded words no one wants to hear:
“You have cancer.”
I was standing in the parking lot of the job I worked for, luckily everyone had already left, and I fell to my knees and cried. I was so scared!
After a few consultations, I finally met with the surgeon. He was handsome. Incredibly handsome. Where did the hospital find these supermodel physicians? I was embarrassed at the thought of him seeing my naughty bits but kept reminding myself that he was a professional.
He informed me that I did not have cancer. I was furious! Don’t get me wrong. I was thrilled I didn’t actually have cancer, but I was pissed that my gynecologist put me through that, and I have now switched doctors.
I did have a disorder known as dysplasia, which basically means I had an abnormal amount of cancer cells in my cervix that caused damage to my cervical walls, potentially turning to cancer. I needed to have part of my cervix removed with a procedure called a LEEP. Besides having my wisdom teeth removed, it was the first surgery I had ever had, and once again, I was petrified.
The surgery was a success and fortunately, I didn’t have any complications.
This brings me to the next awkward moment…
I once again found myself spread eagle with a bright light shined on my nether region for the follow-up appointment.
“How’s your father?” The surgeon asked as he was digging his way to China.
I stared at the ceiling, unable to look him in the eye while he spoke into my vagina. “Fine thanks, how’s yours?” I responded, in my awkward state, not thinking about what I was actually saying. I cringed as the words left my mouth.
I made the mistake of glancing at him, and he arched a confused eyebrow at me. “I meant with your dads cancer.”
“Oh, right.” I nervously chuckled.
For the first time in my life, I was grateful for small talk. That was until…
“You have a pretty cervix.”
“Umm….. thank you?”
He laughed. “I’m sure that’s not something you hear every day.” He replied.
“Or ever.” I retorted.
Pretty?! My cervix is pretty? This still baffles me. How is it pretty? Is it sparkly? Does it glow?
He continued to talk into me, and I laid there wishing he would wait until he could look me in the eye, but alas, I continued talking about how pleasant the weather had been and anything that took my mind off of the uncomfortable situation I was in.
Now, this surgeon follows me on Instagram since we both share a love of sky and nature photography. I’m just grateful he hasn’t posted any pictures of pretty cervixes.
Do youhave any awkward stories you can look back on and laugh about?
Every sunday in winter he would wake and put on his Carhartt to go shovel the driveway after 10 hour days spent through the week clearing the roads Nobody thanked him.
He’d come in from the cold throw coal in the furnace make sure his family was warm He’d start breakfast— eggs sausage gravy biscuits bacon Nobody thanked him.
I watch him now his aging hands peeling an apple for someone else to eat never says “I’m too tired” or complains. He still teaches us— my brother and me and everyone who knows him how to remain soft in a hard world and the beauty of undying love— a father’s love Thank you, dad!
The sun was so hot that 4th of July, one could fry an egg on the sidewalk. At least, that’s what Serena’s father used to tell her. She sat on the swing of her grandmother’s front porch and watched the sunrise. Serena liked arising early in the morning, before anyone else. It was her time of solitude, which she always embraced. Sometimes, her dad would join her, and now, sometimes, Serena especially missed him when the sun rose above the mountains, and the seat next to her was empty. Serena’s father had drunk himself into an early grave when she was nineteen, only six years after her mother left them to run off to Seattle with her boss after he knocked her up.
Serena had slipped her eyes closed as she swallowed the lump in her throat. She felt the weight of the swing shift as someone took a seat next to her. Serena opened her eyes and turned her gaze towards Isabella, who was wearing a look of concern.
“If you want me to leave, I’ll understand, but something told me you could use the company today.”
Serena smiled at her friend. “How did you know I was out here?”
“I had to pee, and when I walked back into my room, I peeked in through your door to see if you were awake and saw the bed was empty.”
The sun had only been above the mountains for half an hour, but the humidity was already killing both Serena and Isabella.
“I am going to go take a shower before the circus starts.” Serena snarked, referring to the arrival of her family.
Isabella chuckled at her statement. “Good idea!”
Serena had spent every 4th of July camping at her grandmother’s since she was a young child. It was a big family tradition. All of the relatives on both Serna’s grandmother and grandfather’s side came. They owned over 50 acres of land, so the families would spread out, some in RV’s, some in tents, and the elderly couples slept in the big farmhouse that held six bedrooms. Close friends of the family also came, and it was the perfect spot to see the annual Deep Creek Lake fireworks. As per usual, Serena, Isabella, Serena’s grandmother, and Aunt Aly were prepping food in the kitchen while Serena’s grandfather and uncles sat around the rotisserie, watching the pig rotate. The aunts and teenage girls were sunbathing while the kids and adolescent boys ran down the slip and slide .Occasionally, Serena would look out of the kitchen window and chuckle, remembering her childhood days, doing the same thing.
With her hands in a bowl of bread dough, and her body comfortable in the conditioned air, there was no other place in the world she would have rather been at that moment.
The ladies chatted and shared laughter, numerous cups of coffee, and Aunt Aly’s blueberry muffins before setting up the tables outside for the feast they were about to consume as they watched the sunset. It was Serena’s favorite part of the day because just as nature’s spectacular show had ended, everyone had just enough time to grab dessert before watching the human-made spectacle.
As the night winded down and the family helped put all of the food away, more and more people retreated to their tents, RV’s, and rooms. The only ones left around the fire were the four ladies who spent their morning together in the kitchen. The women always had been night owls.
“I’m nervous about Glencoe,” Serena admitted as she sipped at her wine as if it held the confidence she needed to admit her fear out loud.
“It’s the first time I’m going to be in the woods since Mitch’s accident.” This time Serena gulped the wine.
Serena held up a finger as she finished her drink. She sat down her glass and looked around at the three women sitting around the fire. “And please, spare me the he’s been gone two years speech.”
“People mean well, darling.” Aunt Aly chimed in.
“Grief doesn’t have a time limit, Aunt Aly,” Serena replied softly.
The women remained silent for a few moments before bidding their goodnights. Serena opted to stay outside and stargaze after the fire went out, she knew she wouldn’t sleep well that night, and the stars always brought her comfort.
Goodbyes are never easy, especially as the years pass by and grandma keeps showing signs of aging. Each hug seemed to last a little longer, just in case, it was the last. Serena found herself holding onto her as if she might vanish from her arms if she didn’t. She grasped on to every precious second, knowing that time had the possibility of stealing her grandma away with the ticking of the next second hand.
Serena’s eyes started to sting as she held her eyes open, afraid to allow a tear to fall if she blinked. She found herself praying for more time as she bid her goodbyes.
Serena paced back and forth as she stared at her computer screen and pushed her hair behind her ears. “Ugh!” She moaned aloud. She threw herself onto her bed and called her grandmother.
“Hi, sweetie!” She greeted her.
“Hi, Gamma!” She replied as she giggled. She loved how her grandmother was always excited to hear from her. “I am probably overthinking an email I am debating on sending, and I need to know if I should send it or not.
“I’m all ears.” Grandma was happy to help.
“I thought about emailing Kent and asking him what kind of clothing I should bring with me for the weather conditions.”
“I think that’s a smart question,” Grandma assured her.
“What if he wonders why I didn’t just check the weather myself?” Serena asked.
“You are overthinking it,” Grandma informed her.
Serena aggressively rubbed her forehead.”Probably, but I did check the weather, and I’ve already picked out my clothes.”
“Why do you want to email him?” Grandma asked. “I mean, what’s the real reason.”
Serena sighed. “You know me so well,” she stated as she slid lower in her chair. “I want to let him know that I’m really looking forward to seeing him.”
“Why don’t you just tell him that?” Grandma asked as if it were the easiest thing to do. “You’re the one who is always saying people should always be honest with one another.”
“Yeah, and I do believe that.” She confirmed. “But I don’t want to come on too strong.”
“Serena, trust me. He’s going to be thrilled.”
“You really think so?”
“I mean, you’re pretty, smart, sweet, charming-” she paused. “How could Kent not be excited?”
Serena chuckled. She noticed the attention men gave her, and while she didn’t always see what they saw, she couldn’t deny that she was attractive. “Thanks, Gamma.”
“I love that you still call me Gamma,” Grandma confessed.
“I’ve been doing it since I was three.” Serena retorted. “No point in stopping now.”
“Go send the email. Don’t overthink it, just do it. Just be honest. I mean, maybe don’t tell him you want to jump his bones.”
“GRANDMA!” Serena shrieked as she turned fifty shades of red.
“Well-” Grandma responded, matter-of-factly.
“He is wickedly handsome, Grandma, but I barely know him.”
“You told me you’ve spoken a few times.” Grandma reminded her.
“I have talked to him a few times, but he’s always short with me. He’s only ever really opened up to me once.”
“Well,” Serena’s grandmother paused, choosing her words carefully, “Maybe his heart is guarded.”
“His poetry is often dark.” She confessed.
“People who have been hurt by love tend to keep their heart guarded, so if he has let his guard down around you, even just a tiny bit, it’s a good start.”
“Thank you, Gamma.” Serena smiled as if her grandmother could see her. “I knew I came to the right person.”
Serena grabbed her bowl and took a nice long hit. She didn’t want to be stoned, just enough to calm her nerves.
“Okay,” she told herself. “Don’t overthink it. Just write what you feel.”
” No.” Serena thought. “Too personal, too quickly.” “Keep it simple, stupid.” She said aloud.
“Perfect!” She smiled at herself as if she was some kind of genius for thinking of writing his name. She took a sip of her wine and continued.
I hope this email finds you well. I checked the weather for Glencoe and saw that it is supposed to be primarily rainy. I am bringing a Pancho, a hoodie in case it gets cold, and hiking boots. Is there anything else you suggest?
I am really looking forward to learning more about photography and getting to know you better!
Serena brushed her hair behind her ears and hit send. She giggled like a schoolgirl, closed her laptop, and climbed into bed.
The following morning Serena jumped out of bed and ran to her laptop, checking her email before making her coffee.
“EEEK!” Serena squealed when she had seen Kent had replied to her email!
From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org
My dearest Serena,
“AHHHHHH!” Serena was freaking out. “I should have just went with it!”
She continued to clap and stomp her feet excitedly for a few seconds before turning her attention back towards his response.
My Dearest Serena,
I am so glad you reached out! Yes, it often rains in Scotland, but it looks like we will luck out and get a few days of sunshine! We will be doing a lot of walking and camping, so good hiking shoes are good. I thought about going into town one day and showing you some of my local favorites (pubs, bookstores, markets, etc..). Some comfortable sneakers might be appropriate. I also recommend dressing in layers because you might get hot. A lightweight jacket, sunscreen, and a water bottle are all excellent items to have on hand.
I must confess, when your friends reached out to book this trip for you, I became elated. I cannot wait to meet you in person and get to know you better as well. I have a few surprises up my sleeve, and I hope this will be an experience you will never forget. I will do my best to give you one of the most extraordinary adventures of your life!
See you soon!
Sincerely yours, Kent
Serena quickly stood from the office chair and tripped over one of the wheels as she ran to grab her phone from her nightstand. She laughed at herself as she picked herself up off the floor and grabbed her phone to call her friends while she made coffee.
*Sigh* I swoon every time I hear this song. I was listening to this song while soaking in the jacuzzi earlier and it gave me an idea for my story. While writing the story, this poem came to me. I hope this high creative streak stays for a while!