All Grown Up - Vi Keeland
* * *
Buy a thong.
I rubbed my eyes and leaned in to re-read the Post-it Note stuck on the lampshade beside the couch where I’d fallen asleep. I had to be reading that wrong.
Nope. It read buy a thong, alright. Only it wasn’t in my handwriting. Smiling, I pulled the yellow square from the girly looking tasseled lampshade, which tilted as I unstuck the note. I automatically reached to right it, then pulled back. A tilted shade or crooked painting made Ryan nuts. Leaving it gave me a renewed sense of joy about my divorce.
Come to think of it, my ex-husband had hated this lamp set when I’d brought it home. Like the dutiful wife I was, I’d hidden them away in the guest bedroom. The day after Ryan moved out, I’d dusted them off and carried them out to the living room. I’d since bought some coordinating fringed throw pillows he’d hate, too.
I stood, and my dull headache began to throb. Ugh. Wine hangover. I padded to the kitchen for some much-needed coffee and two Tylenol. On my way, I found another sticky note—this one on the front door.
I pulled the yellow square off and crumpled it up, along with the thong note. Last night had been movie night with my best friend, Eve. Once a month, we shared a bottle of wine (or two) and watched movies. We’d been doing it since senior year in high school—more years than I wanted to compute so early in the morning.
It was no secret to anyone who knew me that I had a slight obsession with sticky notes. On most days, you could find to-do squares stuck to my front door, bathroom mirror, the dashboard of my car…just about anywhere. Wadding up the individual papers as I finished each task made me feel like I was getting things accomplished. These days, the squares were all over the place—quadruple the amount I normally had—because I’d been using them to study for the Italian language teaching certification test. Post-its with translated phrases were all over the house.
Apparently, my best friend had gotten in on the action before she left me passed out on the couch last night.
Get laid was stuck to the refrigerator. At least I was reading her to-do list in order—I needed the thong and Match.com to get my celibate self some action.
It wasn’t until hours later that I came across the last of Eve’s sticky notes. The one stuck to the bathroom mirror read: Brunch with my amazing best friend. Noon Sunday, Capital Grille on 72nd.
“You should go out with Liam.”
Every other Sunday, Eve and I went to a different restaurant to check out the competition. She owned a French bistro on the Upper East Side and liked to sample the menus and check out the pricing of new places—though today she seemed to be checking out more things than usual.
“Liam? As in our waiter?”
“How old is he, like twenty?”
Eve lifted a martini glass filled with pink liquid to her lips. “I have vibrators older than him.” She sipped. “But he’s over the age of consent. And I’m guessing I could throw those things out if I took him home. I bet he can get an erection on command.” Eve snapped her fingers, demonstrating how it might work. “Hard, Liam.”
I chuckled. “You’d probably need to throw Tom out if you brought that young man home.”
“Don’t tempt me. He fell asleep in the chair at eight o’clock last night. What kind of a friend lets her best friend marry an old man?”
“Like any of us could’ve stopped you, even if we’d thought marrying Tom was a mistake. Which it wasn’t. Besides, who the hell else would put up with you? We all were just grateful you weren’t going to die an old maid.”
“Speaking of old maids…”
“Don’t even go there.”
“Have you gone out with Mark yet?”
“Mark and I are just friends.”
“And he wants to jump your bones.”
“The ink on my divorce papers is barely dry.”
“It’s been eighteen months.”
Really? January, February, March, April… Oh my. It has been. Where does the time go these days?
“Eighteen months isn’t a long time.”
“You were separated for two years before that. How long has it been since you’ve had good sex?”
“How did we get from talking about you to my sex life? Or lack thereof? Again.”
Eve had started lobbying for me to date while Ryan was still packing his shit into the moving truck. She meant well. But lately she’d amped up her normal nudge to