She only ever cried in the shower.
Sure, she’d get upset in other locations. Her eyes would begin to sting. But, the tears wouldn’t come. She wouldn’t let them.
It seemed OK in the shower. Water washed away the tears. Nobody was any the wiser.
It was like it didn’t happen.
She wasn’t crying that morning. Though it would have been understandable if she had been.
As she dried off, she noticed the bags under her eyes. To her, they seemed more pronounced than they had on the previous day. She thought that her boobs looked great, but still…
If someone had asked how she was doing, the only way she could have thought of to describe it was, “like a top beginning to wobble while still spinning towards the edge of the table.”
But, no one ever asked. She always seemed… “perfect.”
She lifted her toilet seat up and then put it back down. It had been so long since a man had been in her house, she wanted to make sure that it still worked.
As she got dressed, she realized that she had been without a boyfriend for eight months and 14 days. And that ex… he wasn’t a good guy. A very not good guy.
She double-checked to make sure that her pepper spray was in her coat pocket.
She did have a blind date last month. Her first impression was that the guy had the overly gelled hair, leather string with weird stone around his neck, and lean punchable face of a part-time ecstasy dealer.
And the night went downhill from there.
Half-dressed, she marched to her fridge and started writing something down on the erasable board stuck to the front of it. She wrote an anonymous blog with three friends and sometimes jotted blog ideas down on this board.
Today she wrote: “Sick of shoveling horse shit in other people’s mental parade.”
She planned on telling her friends that she didn’t know what it meant.
That would be a lie.
There was one guy on her mind though. And she was thinking about him as she got dressed. He lived many hundreds of miles away. But, he excited her. A lot.
She flipped open her laptop. “He is in a different time zone and he gets up early, so…”
Her gmail inbox was full. But, there was nothing from him.
She was surprised by how much that bummed her out. It wasn’t as if they were “dating.”
She noticed a couple of other e-mails and quickly closed her laptop.
She went to her living room to find her briefcase. She peeked out the window to get a feel for the weather.
“Hmm. The neighbours bought a new truck?”
She put on her coat. She grabbed her briefcase. She stood in front of the full length mirror.
A mirror that she would swear to you was being used to “open the room up a little.” But, it was really just there to let her check her game face once more before leaving the door each morning. And she did have a professional game face. She was named her high school prom queen while her parents were embroiled in the angriest and most public divorce in the history of her hometown.
She smiled at herself in the mirror.
“ABC. Always be composed.” Her mother’s voice lived in her head.
She walked out the door and her phone rang immediately. She fished it out of her pocket. It was work. She gave dating advice to a co-worker — and ignored irony — as she walked towards the sidewalk.
She looked up and saw some neighbours. One had a puppy on a leash.
She “Awwww”ed out loud.
“Excuse me?” a male voice from behind interrupted her puppy thoughts.
She turned around.
He continued, “Dana… Are you Dana Patterson?”
“Yup. That’s me,” she said, with the practiced smile, as her hand found the trigger on the pepper spray in her pocket.