The salon smells like Italian flowers on a fresh mountainside, where grapes grow in vines and the sun shines on high peaked crags of ancient rock. If they could turn this fragrance into a perfume Single Girl would wear it every day for a more vivacious life. Her days are less in bloom lately, more comprised of wet floundering, at least until she is able to fall on the couch while the low-slung sun slips down over the side of the earth, and the hypnotic rays of the TV lull her to a mediocre stupor of comfortable numbness. This is life at the moment, not happy, not sad, just existing. She blames the winter doldrums.
Married Girl patted her baby on the back while bobbing up and down in an ad-lib Hokey Pokey dance. She wore the tortured expression of an unseasoned mother, valiantly attempting to care about a problem other than her wailing newborn. Single Girl was pleasantly ignoring the baby, which appeared to her as a benign growth on the side of her friend’s head; one that was emitting a radio static frequency she found mildly distracting. “She has a bubble,” explained Married Girl, unapologetically. “Bum or throat?” asked Single Girl in an offhand manner, snapping her gum.
My name is Emily, and I am 37-years-old; on the cusp of youth’s edge. I have a few good years left before very bad fashion sets in. This is a weird time, I’ve never been more comfortable with who I am, so it’s ironic that I’m now dealing with the new insecurity of recognizing my age. Q: What is your current dating status? A: Single. I’m pretty perpetually single, and was feeling quite zealous about it until I read a Pinterest quote that makes me wonder if I’m dead inside.
“He needs to be tall,” said Single Girl, outlining the revised list of attributes required for her next boyfriend. She was discussing this with Married Girl, who had long been her advocate for higher standards. “I didn’t mean physically,” said Married Girl, picking condiments out of the burger on her plate. The baby slept in its car seat atop an adjacent patio table. On the other side of the railing joggers, matching couples, and zero-body-fat mothers pushing econoline strollers passed along the seawall. The silver chrome globe of Science World glinted rays of a particularly cozy October sunlight, and dragon boaters chanted and pulled in unison as their narrow boats swept out between the rock walls of the bay. Nearby, beneath a cherry tree, a young girl played an unfamiliar tune on a pink outdoor piano that was chained to the tree trunk.