If you’re confused, start here.
The first person I told was my best friend and roommate, Alissa Barton. We lived together in a ramshackle apartment exactly 57 steps away from the canal, where we’d been living since we moved out of our parent’s houses 6 years prior. She was everything that I was not – a hiker and a biker, a carnivore, and a land lubber. She was the turf to my surf.
“Well damn, looks like Ariel finally kissed Prince Eric,” she said putting down the dish she was washing and spreading her sudsy arms wide. I stepped into them and she hugged me tight, dripping joyfully down the back of my t-shirt.
“Did I just hear wedding bells chime?” Alissa’s girlfriend, Marlene, popped her head out from Alissa’s bedroom and yelled down the hall.
“Yes ma’am,” I called back, and Alissa grinned.
“Come give the blushing bride your blessing, sweetie,” she yelled.
“One second, girls, I’m indecent,” Marlene answered. A minute later she waltzed into the kitchen wearing an oversized t-shirt and a star spangled thong.
“Sweetie, you’re still indecent,” Alissa frowned.
“Call it a preview of the bachelorette party,” Marlene laughed, planting a sloppy kiss on my cheek, then grabbing for my left hand. She gave the ring a onceover and nodded her approval.
“Congratulations, darling. Will it be a summer wedding?” she asked.
“We haven’t discussed it yet,” I replied, “ but I don’t see any reason to rush into things. I’m sure we’ll take our time, build up our funds a little, all that.”
“Knowing this one, she’d be married barefoot on the man’s fishing boat, three years from now, holding a bouquet of kelp and a live lobster. And I’ll be the maid of honor dressed in a seashell bra and nothing else,” Alissa joked.
I laughed at that.
“You’d do it for me, wouldn’t you, Lis?” I teased.
“I’d do anything for you, Sarah,” Alissa said, smiling. We made eye contact, and she didn’t look away.
“Hello, standing right here?” Marlene interjected. She grabbed Alissa’s hand and pulled her in for a kiss. I rolled my eyes.
“Really, Sarah, I’m happy for you,” Alissa added, grabbing my arm as I turned to go. Marlene released her own grip on Alissa.
I awkwardly patted Alissa’s hand with my free one.
“Thanks, Alissa,” I replied, “I’m happy for me, too.”
I turned and walked down the short hallway to my room, closing the door behind me. I could hear sounds of hushed dissent coming from the kitchen, and I sighed. First Paula, then Josephine, then Alice, and now Marlene.
I found myself subconsciously twisting the ring around and around my finger and I looked down at my hand. It was a pretty thing, carefully crafted, and it fit my finger well, but I’d always found wearing rings to be awkward. I took it off and flexed my fingers.
I just need a break, I thought. I put the ring on my dresser.
I looked at the clock. Jesus, it was 9:15. I had work in 45 minutes. I stripped off the clothes I was still wearing from the day before and ran for the shower.