All You Could Ask For A Novel - By Mike Greenberg




It certainly isn’t mine.

That’s what I was thinking as I looked. I mean really looked.

I have a great ass. I’ve always had a great ass. I’ve known that since my freshman year at Colgate, when I pledged Tri-Delt and my first night I drank two plastic cupfuls of cherry punch with grain alcohol and allowed a cute Sigma Chi to kiss me while we danced. His name was Paul Didier and he had close-cropped auburn hair and blue eyes, and a general goofiness about him that didn’t seem quite as annoying drunk as it did sober the next day when he showed up at my dorm with a dozen roses. That was the end of him. Cute and goofy is fine for dancing and slightly sloppy kisses but no more, and certainly not for roses.

When he saw the lack of excitement on my face for the flowers, I actually felt sorry for him. He looked like a puppy who’d peed in the house and wanted—really wanted—to go back in time and undo it. But, you know, dogs can’t clean up pee, just like goofy boys can’t pretend not to have bought you roses after one night of drunken smooching.

“You know, I’m a freshman too,” he stumbled, looking more like the puppy every second, “and I don’t know anyone here. I’m from the Midwest, and you seemed like the coolest girl ever.”

“Thank you,” I said, in the same tone you might use to chasten the puppy. “It just seems a little soon.”

“I know,” he said, and started for the door, still holding the roses as he stepped outside. Then he turned back to me, squinting in the bright sunshine of a clear September morning. “You’ve got a great ass, Brooke. I really wanted to tell you that. I’m glad I did.”

That appealed to me, as corny as it was. I waited an appropriate amount of time before I chased him into the courtyard and ripped the flowers away from behind him.

“Where do you think you’re going with those?” I asked.

The goofy grin reappeared, and he moved toward me tentatively. “Can I call you later?” he asked.

“Yes, you may,” I said, and spun on my heel and marched away, knowing full well he was staring. I didn’t turn to see him though, no way. My mother raised me better than that.

Back in my room, with the flowers tossed thoughtlessly on the bed, I lifted my Benetton sweater and stared behind me into the full-length mirror my druggy roommate had glued to the back of our door.

He was right. I had a great ass.

That was twenty years ago, and I’m not sure how closely I’ve checked out my ass since. I think through the rest of college I always thought of that cute puppy dog of a boy (whom I let kiss me two more times before I sent him on his way) and just knew my ass looked great. And then I met Scott, and from the first night we were together he has made me feel beautiful. He still does, too, even after the twins and the C-section, and all the dog poop and cat litter and stomach viruses and coffee breath and eye gunk and accidental farts that threaten to drain the romance from a marriage. He still always manages to wink at me at just the right moments.

I love when he winks at me. When he winks, I’m his girlfriend again, the supercute debutante he fell so hard for that after our first date he, too, bought me a gift. Not a dozen roses but even cheesier: a calendar with photos of exotic locations on it, on which he had used a pale blue marker to write suggested plans for us on randomly selected dates.

“Well, I guess this boy is finished,” my friend Charlotte said when I showed her the calendar.

“I don’t know,” I said, and I guess I smiled more than I realized, because Charlotte smiled back and just like that, we both knew I was going to marry this one. And I did. And it was the best decision I ever made. And now he is turning forty years old and I’ve made another decision, only this one may be the worst of my life.

I got the idea from my girlfriend Ingrid, who is Swedish and beautiful and used to model. We were having coffee after tennis about a month ago when she slapped herself on the forehead.

“Oh shits!” she said, in the Swedish