I’m around two years separated. Ray and I are not officially divorced because we have no money for an attorney. We divvy up our time with our daughter Melissa straight down the middle. There’s no urgency to finalize the divorce.
I finish school and get a job at a corporate law office. I work for Nancy. I reckon she’s around thirty years old. On my first day she tells me she has a MBA and a law degree. Her student loans cost more than her mortgage. Then she adds, “I was supposed to be valedictorian of my high school but there was a tie between another student and me. The school picked the other student. I was salutatorian only because the school made a bad decision.”
It’s a good thing she clears that up because I am totally judging her for her salutatorian status. The department she represents calls her Narcy because she’s such a raging narcissist.
Nancy has me design a contract. We spend an entire day going back and forth.
“Could you make this box about a third of a size smaller?”
“Actually, remove the box and make the one next to it bigger.”
“I changed my mind. Put it back the way it was originally.”
“You know what? I don’t like the way it looks. Let’s start over.”
Jesus Christ, my head is no day in the park but I would seriously hate to be inside Nancy’s head. Why did I pick this career? I neglected to consider the working for uptight lawyers detail.
I decide to attend a drum circle. Perhaps I can beat out my work frustrations on a drum.
The drum circle is a gathering of percussionists who gather at a round house to play drums. It’s architecturally in line with the theme of the gathering. Depending on who is in attendance the drum circle either sounds like the percussion section of Santana or the percussion section of a first grade band.
During the break I chat with Wayne. He’s one of the Santana-worthy drummers. He offers me some of his trail mix. He seems like a nice guy.
It’s New Year’s Eve and my friend Meg and I are going to see the band The Ululating Mummies. I tell Meg I have a feeling I’m going to meet someone. I say it after several beers and a shot of wishful thinking.
Meg and I arrive at the Ululating Mummies show. They’re a fun multicultural band of creative misfits that play songs with titles like Lebanese Hillbilly Music and Dance of the Bird People. They dress up in flashy robes and they wear fun, weird hats. Danny, the saxophone player, makes hats out of colorful kid pants and stuffs the legs. The legs perch up on his head in whimsical glory.
The Ululating Mummies show is packed. I have a happy buzz on when I arrive. George, the bass clarinet player has his face wrapped up like a mummy. I later find out it’s the anniversary of his wife’s death. The gauze masks the uncontrollable tears that pour down his face all night long.
I see Wayne from the drum circle at the show. We dance to the groovy sounds of the accordion, saxophone, bass clarinet, drums, bass and guitar. We hang out during the set break. Wayne reigns nearly a foot over my five foot two frame and I like it. He has long silky auburn hair, long sideburns and a nice smile. I recall how friendly he was at the drum circle. I’m smitten.
At the ring of midnight Wayne kisses me. My friend Meg leaves. Wayne and I continue our dance party, then he gives me a ride home.
“Wayne, I can’t find my key.”
“We can go to my house.”
“No, I have to get inside. My dog Maggie needs me. See if you can break through the French doors.”
Wayne is pushing and kicking in the door. The volume is at an eleven. A guy walks by on the sidewalk. I smile and say, “Happy New Year” like everything is kosher. An apartment light turns on. Wayne and I get inside. Maggie is overjoyed to see me.
Wayne and I hang out for a while. I tell him Ray and I are traveling the next day to visit our dear friends.
Wayne knows Ray from the drum circle. He asks, “Aren’t you divorced?”
I say, “Not officially. Only because we haven’t gotten around to it.”
Wayne looks concerned.
I want to add, “I’m planning to call a lawyer next week. Our friends live in Georgia. It’s more convenient to ride together. I’m sure we’ll argue about something during the trip.”
There’s a loud knock at the door. I think it’s an irritated neighbor coming to complain about the noise. It’s three police officers.
“Ma’am are you okay?”
“Yes, officers, I had to break into my apartment. Sorry for the trouble.”
Wayne says he better go. I’m 98% certain I will never hear from him again after the breaking into apartment/traveling with not-yet-divorced husband/visit from the police fiasco.