Sunday, May 17, 2015
Jamie barely concealed her excitement, as she searched through containers of strawberries and blueberries to find the perfect ones. Tonight she was attending a new book club meeting, and her job was to bring a fruit platter. A big smile spread across her face as she recalled being invited by Tina, the mother of one of her son’s friends. She gallivanted through the fruit store filling up her basket with kiwis, mangos, and other luscious fruit. As she continued her journey, she spotted Tina’s red mane in a nearby aisle. She ran over.
Tina turned around and gave Jamie a fake smile.
“Oh, hi Jamie,” she said in a flat voice.
“I’m not sure if you got my emails and phone messages but I haven’t heard back from you as to your friend Alison’s address. I know she lives a few houses away from you but don’t know her house number. Anyway, I’m so excited about tonight. I loved the book and can’t wait to meet everybody.”
“I’m sorry Jamie. There’s been a change,” said Tina.
“What type of change? Is it at someone else's house?” asked Jamie, leaning forward, eyes wide open.
“Well, the other women don’t feel like you’ll fit in. You know, we’re all teachers and highly educated. You-- being a hairdresser and all-- understand, right?” said Tina.
Jamie’s face fell. “But I was so looking forward to it. And this is so last minute. I mean, the meeting is tonight, I'm picking out fruit for a fruit salad. Plus, they never met me, how would they know I wouldn’t fit in?”
Jamie blinked back tears. This was the week from hell. Two of her clients told her they were leaving her for another hairdresser, and she found out her son was being bullied at school. The book club was the only thing she was looking forward to.
“You know, I went to college and was an English major. I work as a hairdresser because I have two kids, no husband, and it fits into my schedule. I’m just as smart as all of you women, if not smarter!” screamed Jamie.
“Don’t have a hissy fit. Get over it. You’ll find another book club,” said Tina, looking around like she wanted to escape.
“Please, this has been such a bad week. This is the only thing I’ve been looking forward to,” cried Jamie.
“Oh man, I know where Will gets it from, jeez,” said Tina in a snotty tone.
“Excuse me? What does my son have to do with this?” asked Jamie.
“ Peter tells me all the time how needy and clingy Will is. I see he gets it from his mom,” said Tina.
“Oh my God. Will told me he was being bullied at school. It’s your son who is bullying him!” cried Jamie.
“This is a ridiculous conversation. I gotta go,” said Tina as she slithered away, like a snake, her red hair flowing nicely down her back.
“I hate you,” Jamie mumbled to herself, and then before she was able to control herself, she grabbed a grapefruit and threw it at Tina, hitting her in the back.
Tina turned around and stared at her. “You little twit,” she screamed, as she grabbed a nearby tomato and threw it at Jamie. Jamie ducked, and the tomato hit a nicely dressed man standing behind her.
The tomato splattered all over his white shirt.
“Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” screamed Jamie.
Tina came running over, pointing at Jamie. “ I apologize, Greg. She started it! Let me help you clean your shirt,” Tina said as she pulled a stain remover wipe from her purse, and dabbed at his shirt in a sensual way. She seemed to be enjoying it as she flirted with him.
As Tina finished up she said, “ I’m getting a manager,” and ran away.
“I’m so sorry,” cried Jamie to the man.
“It’s quite alright. I know Tina, she’s my neighbor. And she has a temper, so if I were you, I would scoot out of here as fast as you can, “ he said.
Jamie saw Tina stomping down the aisle with a timid looking man, who must be the manager. Jamie raced out the door.
By the time she got home, she was fuming and crying. “ How dare they not allow me into their book club! I’m going to go tonight, I don’t care. I read the book, so screw them, ” she thought, as she searched Tina’s Facebook page for Alison’s last name. She then did an online search, and found her address. Alison lived across the street from Tina.
Jamie looked in her full length mirror, liked her outfit, and left for the meeting. She parked two houses down, and hesitantly approached the door. “This was a bad idea. I can’t go in,” she thought as she stood outside.
She heard laughter inside. She snuck around the side of the house, looking for a window, to see what these women looked like. As she scurried around, she heard a growl , and spotted a big German Shepherd several feet away. Her heart was beating so fast , she was sure it would bulge out of her chest into the shepherd's mouth. She was terrified of dogs. The dog was standing still. She decided to saunter back to her car, but thought it was best if she removed her high heeled shoes in case she needed to run. She was halfway to her car, when she looked behind, and saw the dog moving very fast in her direction. She made a run for it, dropping one of her shoes along the way. As she sprinted, she lost her balance, and fell on a grassy patch. She heard the heavy panting and smelled the breath of the dog. She closed her eyes, praying this would be a painless mauling, when she heard “Daisy! Heal!”
Her eyes were still closed, as she heard a gentle man’s voice say, “ She’s harmless, are you okay?”
She opened up her eyes to see the man from the fruit store, and the shepherd, both staring at her with kind eyes.
“Oh my God, you’re Greg from the fruit store. Tina’s neighbor. This is embarrassing.”
He handed her shoe back to her, and said with smiling eyes, “Can I call you Cinderella?”
He then helped her up as Daisy licked her leg.
At that moment, Tina’s front door opened, and five snobby looking women stared at her. They reminded her of an adult version of the movie “Mean Girls” .
“She’s a bitch. Come with me. Let's get your knee bandaged up, you’re bleeding,” said Greg.
She held onto his arm hobbling into his house, as the women glared.
“Your wife probably hates me for ruining your shirt,” said Jamie.
“ I’m divorced so there is no wife to hate you. Tina, on the other hand, has a huge crush on me, so she is probably miserable right now. She’s a bully, just like her son. I overheard your conversation in the store,” he said.
“ I probably overreacted. It’s been a tough week,” said Jamie.
“You like tea?” asked Greg.
“ Love tea,” said Jamie.
“Then let me put up some water, bandage you up, and I’m sure you’ll have a much better time than at that wicked book club,” laughed Greg.
Jamie smiled for the first time this week.