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Aug 23, 2020

Contemporary

      A New Introduction 

  Two weeks had passed since their breakup, no text messages, no cellphone calls, no surprise home visits. Mindy had stopped by the Lakeview apartment they shared to pick up some paper work for the office. She walked in expecting to be alone since Jared had left at 7:00 a.m. as he usually did to go to work at a Sports Supply Store. Instead, she followed a trail of clothing: a dress shirt, a tie, a bra, a pair of lace panties leading to the bedroom. Giggling and singing met her ears to the lyrics of “Get Down On It" a 1980’s song by the rock group, “ Kool and the Gang “ played on the stereo. Lucky for who she wasn’t exactly sure, the papers for work were in the room converted into her office. She tiptoed out of the apartment and continued her 45 minute drive into the city to work.

  Mindy could no longer keep in her anger thinking about the investment of two years put into this relationship. She called me her best friend at work to relay this morning’s events. Mindy asked me if I would go home with her after work and pick up a few things. She didn’t want to face him if he was there. She didn’t know how far the surging emotion of rage would take her. I offered her a place to stay with me until she could get settled in her own place.

   The time passed quickly, and it was check out time at the end of a work day at 5:00 p.m. We stopped at Sonic drive-in and each ordered a cheeseburger and onion rings. It was a beautiful afternoon sunshine, fluffy clouds, and a cool breeze. We felt relaxed, ready to take on the dreaded task awaiting us. We drove up to Apartment 24 at Lakeview and first thing we noticed Jared's sporty 2018 Mustang was not parked in the designated space.

   As the key turned the latch, Mindy breathed a sigh of relief. Mindy automatically gravitated towards the bedroom. Upon entering, she discovered the bed made, the room immaculate. Walking through the apartment everything was in its place. Not even a coffee cup in the kitchen sink was in evidence. Nevertheless, the woman had left her calling card in the bathroom medicine cabinet. It was literally a business card: Jennifer Russell, female exercise clothing and sport performance tennis shoes. Mindy's state of mind went from a determination not to losing her temper to an overwhelming rage. She places her creams, soaps and shampoos and conditioners and her cosmetic products in her luggage bag, with the business card. She began by taking a lipstick labeled passion fruit and writing in bold red letters the single word GOODBYE! This message covered the entire medicine cabinet. 

   Passing back through the bedroom she paused to place her engagement ring on the dresser, then she reconsiders. Instead of slipping it back on her finger she unzips a compartment in her purse for safekeeping. No need to provide him with a ring for her replacement. A second trip to her Honda Civic included all her clothing and a set of dishes her mother gave to them for a Christmas gift. She left her plants on the balcony and the photo of them at the beach, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina last summer vacation. 

   Mindy paces in circles and returns to the bedroom one last time. She opens the drawer full of dress socks and cuts them into little pieces. The first pair of scissors was too dull so she replaced them with a sharper pair. The closet door held a tie rack that consisted of striped, solid, polka dotted, and even paisley print. This pair of scissors worked better and the ties were diminished to ribbons. Moving on to the walk-in closet, she made her way to the Stafford dress shirts. The dress pants and matching jackets, or suits purchased at J. C. Penny’s were all carefully selected by Mindy. She suddenly went over to the stereo and found the selection by “ ZZ TOP" , “ Sharp Dressed Man". She had lovingly furnished his wardrobe for Jared ‘s managerial position. She laughed and cried simultaneously until she could no longer do either one. As she looked about the apartment one last time she whispered in my ear, “ Wendy, how is it, I didn’t know?”

   I enjoyed Mindy’s company for the past two weeks. We ordered pizza out a lot for dinner. We indulged on the weekend late nights with moose tracks ice cream and buttered popcorn. We bought perfume and a new dress for the promotional party at work. We splurged at the hair salon, even having manicures and pedicures at the spa. During this period of time, Mindy never answered one of Jared's calls or texts. Jared called Mindy’s mother and even made a visit to her family home on the chance of finding her there.

  On the night of the party, my boyfriend Ethan and his roommate Travis were our dates. I wore a pastel blue dress, low cut and at a tapered length. Mindy wore a red backless designer dress that suited her fair complexion. We applied our “ White Diamonds “ perfume, feeling pretty and confident as professional advertising representatives to our engagement. When we arrived early to meet with our employer, people were already coming in.

   Introductions were made among executives, managers, accountants, secretaries and sales representatives. Suddenly, Jared and Jennifer stood before Mindy and myself. I motioned for Ethan and Travis to remain close and they did. Mindy held it together as Mr. Prescott, our boss introduced us to Jared White and Jennifer Russell both assets to our company. No sign of recognition in either of their faces. Mindy Nelson and Wendy Hill in the company of Ethan Sparks and Travis Kelly. Out of politeness, no sign of recognition on anyone’s face.

   As the party continued, Mindy excused herself to go to the restroom. I left Ethan and Travis at our table to check on her. I heard voices rising as I walked down the hallway. Catching a glimpse of Jared and Mindy spewing those angry words that needed to be released, I returned to our table. A few minutes later Mindy returned to the table and we left the party.

   Even a person can have a best friend to help you through the difficult times in life, the wounds are real. Friends serve as buffers, cushions, and shields from the outside world. Wounds heal and scars remain for all of us. In the darkness of the night, I open the door to Mindy’s room, I hear the muffled sound of her crying into her pillow. I gently close the door. 

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