“It’s just an invitation to a club, for Christ sake. He didn’t ask you to marry him, Molly.”
“Noooo,” Molly said, dragging out the word as she shifted the phone to her left hand so she could yank up her high-waist control-top underpants with her right. When she pulled the material high enough to cover her stomach, her right cheek escaped out the bottom and waggled back and forth like it was gasping for air. “But it is an invitation to a club which Google says is known for…” she paused as she pushed the speakerphone button and slid her glasses from her forehead to her nose to read the tiny print. “Here it is… ‘known for sophisticated singles looking for a good time and zero judgement.’”
“No one will judge you,” Kara said.
“You judge me constantly. It’s your favorite hobby.”
“I judge your poor fashion sense and crockpot addiction. I would never judge you for hooking up with the hottest dad in Ben’s fifth grade class. In fact, I would applaud you. Although, are you sure you won’t let me set you up with Principal Thompson? I’ve started walking the damn dog every morning just to watch him jog through the neighborhood. Or maybe date them both? Your husband left you for Hand Job Harris…”
“Hannah Joe Farris.”
“…for Hand Job Harris six months ago. It’s time for you to get out there and get your own naughty nickname.”
“I don’t want a naughty nickname,” Molly said, sliding the underpants slowly down over her bottom as she stared in the mirror, careful that nothing popped out the top.
“What do you want then?” her best friend asked.
Molly watched as a stretch-marked belly roll slowly oozed over the top of her underpants and sighed. “I just want this pair of generic Spanks to hold everything in place, I guess.”
As if her body fat was listening, it stayed put when she gave it another shove and with the extra help was almost the same width it had been when she’d gotten married 15 years ago, albeit about three inches lower. Molly shuffled slowly across the walk-in closet to her dresses, careful not to dislodge any offending flesh.
“You don’t need Spanks!” Kara protested. “Men don’t mind the wobbly bits. It means you’ve lived and learned to let it all hang out.”
“I don’t want it to hang out. I want it to stay where it’s supposed to,” Molly said over her shoulder as she patted the slight bulge under her chin that threatened to become a waddle if she gained another few pounds.
“You didn’t used to be this uptight,” Kara scolded. “Did Dick make you this way?”
Kara had always refused to call Molly’s husband “Rick,” instead preferring Dick or Dickhead or occasionally just Penis. It bothered Molly the first few years of her marriage but now she rather liked it.
“Rick didn’t make me uptight. Growing up did. I have four children, a household to run and the PTA fundraiser….”
“What’s the name of the club you’re going to?” Kara cut Molly off before she could launch into her various school and church committees and Molly let her, growing bored before she’d even started.
“Club T and A.”
“Club Tits and Ass?” Kara squealed then cackled so loudly that the phone’s speaker vibrated against the closet shelf.
“I guess that’s what it stands for. Darren left me a phone message and it was a little hard to hear so I Googled it. He left me the address, though. It’s a block past the frozen yogurt place that the kids love.”
“Have you seen it?”
“No, the last time we went to the yogurt place things got a little out of control. Melly threw up her milkshake and the twins accidentally slipped in it and fell down then Ben started to throw up because of the smell…”
“Oh God, stop. Didn’t I ban vomit stories?”
“No, you banned stories about urine or…”
“Ok, now I’m banning stories about all bodily functions.”
“Fine. Anyway, the yogurt shop owner suggested we not come back so I haven’t driven down Triplett Street since before Christmas but the address of the club is right past there.”
“I hear a zipper. What are you wearing? It better be tight and involve a pushup bra.”
Molly had spent a good five minutes arranging her 42-year-old breasts in a pushup brassiere that contained something called chicken cutlets — gel-filled inserts that sat just above the underwire. The entire contraption did make her B-cups into C’s but she couldn’t seem to straighten out her cleavage that now permanently veered to the left. She blamed Patrick, her youngest, who had been an avid breastfeeder put preferred the left over the right.
She had never minded the bumps and sags that childbearing had added to her body figuring that the only man who’d see her naked was responsible for the damage. But now Rick was off with Hand Job… Hannah Joe… probably enjoying the wonders of a 32-year-old vagina that had never pushed a ten-pound baby out sideways.
“Earth to Molly,” Kara’s voice bleated from the shelf. “What are you wearing? Text me a picture so I can approve it.”
“Good. I approve.”
“My boobs are pushed up almost to my chin.”
“Damn right they are. What shoes?”
“The four-inch ones that you said you saw in that rap video.”
“I saw the $3,000 version in the video. You have the $24 T.J. Maxx knockoff.”
“Same thing,” Molly said and poked her left boob back in alignment.
“Not really but I have one last question.”
“How do you feel?”
Molly leaned over, wiggled at her reflection and nodded with satisfaction. “My tits are up, my ass is in, my kids are at my mother’s. I feel as in control as I can be. Wish me luck. Bye!”
Molly grabbed the little purse that Kara had given her as a divorce present. Kara had written “condoms” across the little pocket inside as a joke and stuck in one labeled “extra large.” Molly also crammed a lipstick and her cellphone in the tiny thing and wobbled down the stairs in her new heels.
Seven minutes later she was driving up Triplett Street, looking for the right address. “523,” she said aloud as she saw the numbers on the side of a plain brick building. “No sign but that must be it.”
Molly parallel parked on the street and slid her car key into the purse next to the condom. She was feeling good as she checked herself out in the rear view mirror until headlights lit up the car and highlighted the crinkles around her mouth and the worry lines etched between her eyebrows. She wondered if she could get Botox injections as part of her divorce settlement.
“Club Tits and Ass, here I come,” she said under her breath as she jerked open the door on her hybrid sedan that smelled like old yogurt and soccer cleats.
Mindful of her crooked cleavage, she dipped behind her car door as she stepped out and pushed her breasts up and in, hoping they would look high and full instead of long and tired. When that didn’t work (goddamn Patrick), she shoved her right hand inside her bra and scooped her breast back up from where it threatened to snake down under the underwire.
“Molly Porter? Ben’s mom?”
Molly ripped her hands out of her brassiere and fumbled her purse under the car in the process.
“I was hoping you’d be able to make it,” Darren said as Molly slid to her knees and fished behind the front tire. “Wow, you look amazing! I’m just in gym clothes. Are you going somewhere after this?”
Molly felt two of her fake nails crack off on the pavement as she dragged the purse out from under the car by its little silver zipper.
“Gym clothes?” she asked as she brushed her hair out of face then turned and saw Hot Dad Darren standing on the sidewalk in basketball shorts and a nylon shirt that said, “Sweat is Pain Leaving the Body.”
Molly looked down at her little black dress then noticed a streak of grease up her hand and arm that she must have just scraped across her face.
“Why would you wear gym clothes to a club?” she asked, wiping at her cheek with her clean hand.
“Because it’s a health club. Club TNA - Toning, Nutrition and Agility — the three pillars of their new exercise program. I knew you worked out because you’re always in yoga pants,” Darren said with a straight face. “If you join the program I get ten percent off my dues next month. Then if you get someone to join, you get…”
“I got it, Darren. I got it,” Molly said, feeling ridiculous. “I think I Googled the wrong club, though. The one I thought I was going to had one of those um… stripper pole workout classes tonight. Is that not on the schedule? Aw, too bad. It’s a great workout for your…” she paused as she struggled to think of something other than tits and ass. “…pecs and buttocks.”
“Oh, I’ve heard of those classes! You even wear the stripper shoes, right?” They both looked at her feet and she thought of kicking Kara with them.
“Well then, I guess I’ll take off!” Molly frantically dug for her keys but the grease had made her hand slippery and she fumbled the purse which sent the condom rolling out the top and onto the pavement.
Darren bent over to retrieve it for her and the silver “XL” on the side of the foil packet winked in the street light.
“Looks like this got away from you,” he said.
“That’s just my luck, I guess. I haven’t been able to keep anything where it belongs lately.”
“Nobody likes a condom that won’t stay in place,” Darren said and chuckled.
“Or a husband who won’t. Or ass fat. Or cleavage,” Molly added.
“Well, now that you mention it, your left nipple is poking out of your dress there at sort of a weird angle. Can you not feel that? It looks like it might hurt.” Darren pointed at it in case she didn’t know where to look for her own nipples.
“Thank you, Darren,” Molly said, unlocking her car door and sliding into the driver’s seat. “But a friend of mine said I should learn to let it all hang out. I think she meant metaphorical nipples but why stop there?”
Molly rolled down the window as she drove off, planning how she’d burn her underwear and bra in the fireplace when she got home. As she pulled into traffic, she heard Darren ask, “Wait, what are metaphorical nipples?”
“I guess they’re like literal nipples but not nearly as fun,” a deep voice answered. When Molly looked in her rearview mirror to see who’d spoken, she nearly wrecked the car when she saw Principal Thompson strolling up the sidewalk in his gym shorts.