Damsel in Digress: A Short Story

I never do this. I never just sit in a coffee house and enjoy a cup of joe while I read for pleasure. I’m positive this is the first time.

When I walked in and placed my order, I didn’t even feel like I was doing it right. I stumbled over the words, just happy for an adult to talk to.

“Oh, hi! Can I have a… sorry… an iced caramel latte? Large, I mean grande? Is that a large? Sorry, I don’t do this a lot.”

“Name?”

“My name? Yes, my name is Erin.”

When my order was up, I grabbed my cup and awkwardly chose my seat, reflecting on how painful that was for all parties involved. I’m just going to sit here, pretend I belong, and read my book. My very sophisticated, not at all trashy, young adult fiction novel. About vampires. And the angst of teenage love. Nothing to see here.

But it’s so quiet. Like I can’t concentrate, because Mickey Mouse isn’t blaring in the background and no one has cried since I’ve been here.

Usually I’m being bombarded by little humans needing me to do all the things for them. “I need a snack!” “Where’s my dump truck?” “Get me juice!” “Have to go potty!” That’s right. I’m a stay at home mom. It’s a full time, no chance for a break, lose your mind, can’t remember the last time you put on makeup, let alone showered kind of job, and I’m right in the eye of the tornado that is the child rearing years.

But today I needed a break. Somewhere between my son peeing down a flight of stairs and my daughter asking 972 questions before breakfast, I hit my limit. I just needed one split second to myself. So I dumped the kids with Grammy and escaped to the first place that my mind raced to. A quiet room where the caffeine flows freely. And I’m not calling it a break. It’s a vacation, because it’s the longest I’ve been away from my offspring in two months.

This beautiful, silent room. All these glorious people who are old enough to wipe their own butts and are capable of having an intellectual conversation. And this lovely clean, not at all sticky table. With a note on it. This definitely wasn’t here when I sat down. Who put this here? How could I have missed something like that?

“Hi Gorgeous. What are you doing Friday night?”

Oh my gosh. This can’t be right. Look at me! This is so flattering, but really, I’ve been wearing these same black yoga pants for three days straight. There is oatmeal smeared on the front of my sweatshirt. And, yep. That’s kid boogers on my sleeve. I don’t even think I brushed my hair today… or my teeth! And forget makeup. Unless this 50 shades of embarrassment counts. How is this even possible that someone finds all of this hot mess attractive?

How am I supposed to even respond to this? I mean, maybe back in my glory days something like this would have happened, but not now. Not since so many people have exited my body, leaving me stretched out and squishy. Back then, I would have tossed my perfectly straightened hair to the side, flashed my carefree smile, and brazenly searched the room for my admirer. But not today. Today I will discreetly glance around, trying to determine if someone merely made a mistake and thought I was someone else.

Ok, scan the perimeter. First person you make eye contact has to be the sender. Well, it’s definitely not “I’m a gazillion-aire, look how pretty I am with my Armani suit and guava hair gel.” Oh no. God, I hope it’s not that guy with the cable knit turtleneck and unmarked duffel bag. He is clearly hiding people in his basement. And for sure not this hippie over here who clearly does recreational drugs, strumming on his guitar for tips, and hasn’t seen the inside of a shower in weeks… you know what. Scratch that last part about the shower. I’m sure it’s been longer for me.

That’s him. That’s definitely him. It has to be. The way he is looking at me with those shy, piercing blue eyes is making me go flush all over again. Wow. I just want to run my fingers through his thick, dark blonde hair. I wonder if he’s been working out? He definitely looks like he’s been working out. He is the sexiest man I have ever seen in real life. Interesting choice of clothing. Is that a baseball t-shirt from middle school? I feel like I can probably overlook that because the butterflies in my stomach surely don’t mind.

And, here he comes. I know tucking my unruly hair behind my ears is doing absolutely nothing for my appearance, but I have to try something to make myself look mildly presentable. Maybe he won’t notice my snot sleeve. Who am I kidding? He will definitely notice.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“May I sit down?”

“Of course.”

“I see you found my note.”

“Yes, I did.”

“What do you think?”

“Well, I should tell you. I don’t always look this appealing. I usually have three human parasites clutching to me.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I’m glad you say that, because they’re 50% yours.”

“Why don’t we ditch them and I’ll take you to dinner and a play?”

“That sounds lovely. What will we do with the others?”

“I’ve already arranged a sitter.”

“That’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever said to me in seven years.”

His lips are so familiar, yet these kisses never get old. I feel unbelievably lucky that I can kiss these same lips from now until forever. A zap of excitement tingles me as I remember we are in public and not the comfort of our own home. Oh well. Let them stare. Let them all stare.

“See you at home, Toots.”

“Love you.”

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