Last time I spent a day in Weston, Missouri was with R exactly two years ago, but that didn’t worry me when I agreed to join some co-workers for a day trip there on Saturday. It registered, but was not a big deal. R and I have been divorced now for 8 months, separated for 14. In that time I had a passionate affair with The Mexican, got a job, went brunette!
What could go wrong.
Especially with these crazy ladies and Father Christmas:
See the purse Flarine is carrying?
I kept saying “We’re the Golden Girls!” but she’d shoot me down and say “You’re just a baby.” And Corrine had lived in a house on Main Street that is now a bed and breakfast and I was exceedingly excited about that. She’d scold “Yeah I lived there… fifteen years before you were BORN!” They are my favorite kind of old ladies: contrary and bitter. But it’s a cute contrary and bitter… and funny!
Then suddenly, apparently, I’d done something to piss off the universe.
We walked into a shop and I recognized it immediately from two years ago. I don’t know how I could possibly remember each item they had for sale, let alone where it was placed in the store, but I did. And it was all exactly the same. Had they not sold one single thing in 730 days? I walked over to the hooks with ruffly umbrellas – just like I did 2 years ago – and fiddled with one. The old man behind the glass counter started pressuring me to buy it – just like he did 2 years ago. I looked at him and a cat walked from the back room, in front of the counter, and to its cat bed in the front window where it started to give itself a bath and then the old lady came in and asked where the cat was. JUST AS THEY DID TWO YEARS AGO.
I was in some malicious Groundhog Day.
It was so bizarre I thought I may faint or throw up, so I stepped outside and fought back tears in the chilly gray air. Then everything became familiar and sad. Did NO SHOPS even change their fucking window displays? Throw me a bone, Weston, Missouri!
I had to get out of this day, but how? I’d ridden with one of the ladies and didn’t have my car. So I did what I’ve done ever since I told R to leave last September and broke my own heart. I decided to soldier on.
You know how it ended up? I had more fun that day with the old ladies than I did that other day with R. He only took me because it was somewhere that I wanted to go and I worried he was bored the whole time. Very refreshing to be with people who were enjoying themselves, even more than me, rather than accommodating me.
In another store everyone was trying on mood rings and finding out their state of mind. I was a bit afraid what my ring would disclose, but Mabel handed me one and said Let’s see yours, Krissy! I looked at the ring as the colors calibrated and swirled to my finger temperature. There were green, turquoise, blue, yellow. Pink, purple, black, gray. White… the number of colors on that ring went on and on and it wouldn’t settle on any one color. Everyone was amazed, including the store clerk. I shrugged, “I’m obviously confused.”
But then Corrine figured out that I didn’t have on a mood ring at all. Mabel had just given me a regular old swirly-colored ring. A real mood ring confessed that I was feeling “pleasant but uneasy on the inside.” (Wow.) Luckily Corrine then said, “Let’s go buy some Tequila Rose.”
So we walked over to the wine shop and found out samples of anything in the entire place were 25 cents. Corrine said, “Hell, we can get drunk for a dollar.” As Mabel went to buy peach flavored vodka our boss had requested and another looked for martini glasses for home, I found my way back to the sampling counter. On my second little plastic shot glass of whisky eggnog, Corrine saddled up to the bar and said “I’ll have what she’s having!”
Pretty soon we were all sampling the wares. And I looked at these funny old crones and raised my cup. “To Friendship.” “To Friendship,” they all repeated. While I’m still stumbling around figuring out life without a man, THANK GOD for it.