Before I was somebody’s mother, I used to cover up the gray. I used to get my hair blown out. My make-up saw the light of day. Happy hour wasn’t my daughter’s nightly nap. Putting on lotion wasn’t a luxury. My heels and skirts weren’t considered vintage.
Saturday, my single-for-a-day alter ego, Dirty Martini, came out to play. She only makes rare appearances, once every six months to a year. She knows when I really need her to appear.
She slept in, while “the other people in the house” (those that Dirty Martini doesn’t know by name) watched football. She went downstairs with horse blinders on, made some espresso and grabbed a chocolate muffin. Some people tried to say, “hi,” but they had weird hair and reeked of morning breath and meat farts, so she ignored them and ran upstairs. Dirty Martini sometimes calls them The People Under the Stairs, because they remind her of a real, horror story.
She sat in bed and watched an episode of Dateline, sipping on her coffee and munching on her muffin without any distractions. She took a nice, long shower, shaved her legs and even exfoliated. She brushed her teeth for the full, two minutes and flossed them. She put strawberry lotion on her legs, while a collagen mask refined her pores. She took her time.
She went to the hair salon, got her hair highlighted, cut and blown out. She had an adult conversation that didn’t involve stories about The People Under the Stairs. Her bladder stayed in check. No leakage while laughing. No frequent, every-five-minute trips to the ladies lounge. She had the body of a never-pregnant 22-year-old.
The People Under the Stairs kept texting her, but she ignored them and chalked them off as stalkers. Those crazy people were everywhere. They kept calling, texting and staring at her. They were ghost leeches: a munchkin and a walker.
She went home, made a single sandwich and spent some time writing. Around 5 o’clock, she poured a glass of cabernet and headed upstairs to primp for a night out with her single girlfriends. She took time putting her make-up on. Her blouse was made of silk, not 100% cotton. There were no stains or wrinkles on it. It was crisp and clean. She wore heels and didn’t stumble down the stairs. She was Dirty Martini, full of bite, class and style.
The walker offered to drive her to the restaurant and she didn’t refuse. Classy girls don’t drink and drive. She sipped on cocktails and chatted about politics and her friend’s latest dates. She matched them drink for drink.
After a couple of hours, her body started to warp. Her vision became slightly altered. Her stomach started to churn.
She kept on moving. She had to fight it. She had to carry on. Fearing that her alter ego may make an unexpected appearance, she continued to guzzle drinks, one-to-one with all of the single ladies. She even danced to fight her off.
Slowly, but surely, her depth perception skewed in and out. She was going through “the change”. The nausea was seeping through and she longed for a pizza, a jug of water and her bed. Her feet began to ache from the high heels. Her hip started to hurt from the dancing. The hiccups overtook her in-between breaths.
Her girlfriend dropped her off at home. As she drove away, her friend took the form of a walker. The daytime walker answered the door. He smiled and turned into a prince. The tides were turning. I was taking over and there was no turning back. Dirty Martini and the prince munched on DiGiorno’s pizza, the only kind available in the suburbs at 11:30 pm. The pizza and water evoked my Dirty Martini alter ego, my single demon, and I fell asleep.
The next day, I woke to a mouth stuffed full of cotton. The munchkin was hitting me on the head with a hammer. Wait, the munchkin wasn’t hitting me with a hammer. It was Babyface talking in my ear as I opened my eyes. My body creaked as I slid off the bed. Yes, there was creaking from sliding.
I prayed that Dirty Martini was banished for good. I prayed that the pizza-and-water antidote would take. I prayed that alcohol would be drained from the world. I was a clean and sober, healthy mom.
That afternoon, we went to my nephew’s seventh birthday party. My head was still pounding, while 12 seven-year-old boys ran around screaming with ninja balloon swords. I was sitting with my eyes closed behind my sunglasses. When I opened them, I saw The People Under the Stairs and a bunch of munchkins.