*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here
By the time I stepped off the plane, the moon was high in the sky and I was starting to suffer from a same day hangover. My mom was leaning against her car as I emerged through the sliding doors. A giant smile grew across her face as she saw me before she enveloped me into a massive, breath stealing hug. The short drive home was quiet and as I walked into my childhood home my mom looked at me and said, “You look tired, sweetheart. And you smell like a bar. Go get some rest, and take a damn shower.”
“No need to tell me twice,” I grumbled.
I woke up to the smell of pancakes and bacon. I stretched and searched through the fog in my brain realizing where I was. I also remembered that I was no longer a lowly office peasant, I was now a Marketing Executive with my very first major client. I had specific goals for the future; I wanted my own boutique agency, just something small and Ben Davis was my stepping stone to get there. I was a hard worker and I vowed to put everything I had into his campaign no matter what it took.
My stomach forced me to take the stairs two at a time to get to the salivating smells coming from the kitchen. I found my grandmother sitting at kitchen table drinking mimosas. Although it wasn’t an overly unfamiliar sight, I still had to laugh. “Really Mimi, it’s not even 11 yet.”
She looked up with a smile. “And? It’s juice. Plus, we’re celebrating.”
“What are we celebrating?” I asked, sitting across from her. My mom, bless her heart, put full plate in front of me.
“Your big presentation.”
“But you don’t know how it turned out,” I argued, stuffing a forkful of pancakes into my mouth. All ladylike and shit.
“It doesn’t matter how it turned out, sweets, we know how hard you worked on it and you’ve had a rough go over the past month. You need a mimosa and pancakes and bacon.” She frowned as I could only nod around the disgusting amount of food in my mouth, taking a sip of the liquid gold in a champagne flute.
“Thanks mom,” I finally managed. “Well, just so you know, the presentation went very well and I got a personal phone call last night saying that he was impressed and what I brought to the table was exactly what he was looking for.” I winced at the squeals that erupted and at the happy dance that followed.
“I knew it! I knew you would do it. I’m so proud of you honey.”
After breakfast, I climbed the stairs sluggishly to my bedroom. As I fell onto the bed, I stared around my childhood room. So many memories flooded as I looked across at some of the gymnastic medals still hanging from the wall, the photos still taped to the mirror. Most of them were of me and my childhood friends, some of my mom and Mimi, but there was one that caught my eye, one that for some reason I couldn’t remove when I was younger. It was a photo of me, my mom and my dad, when my parents were still married. Their break up was hard but necessary. As a kid, you don’t understand adult problems but looking back, I wondered if they were ever truly happy together. It was a tough divorce, old resentment and new angers clashing to make one giant shit pile. That shit pile created such a wedge between them that even now, a civil conversation was like pulling teeth. I always watched what I said to my mom about my dad and vice versa in fear of saying the wrong thing. I’d wished, prayed some nights that my parents still got along, that they would still be able to be cordial even if just over the bond of the child they shared, but they weren’t, couldn’t. My dad had moved and lived in so many cities since they’d broken up I’d lost count and his idea of speaking on a regular basis was holiday text messages. Wistful melancholy filled the slow breath I let out. It was a month before Christmas and I always flew home for our annual Christmas shopping extravaganza weekend. We put up the tree, drank hot chocolate, strung lights, the works. When my dad left we started new traditions and I loved them.
I lifted my head at the knock on the door. “Ready to get the party started?” Mimi asked, shimmying her shoulders.
“Yes, let’s do it.” I got up and she handed me a travel mug. “What’s in it?”
After day of shopping and picking out the most imperfect Christmas tree, we hummed along to the Christmas songs playing on the radio as we hung the decorations. “So, how have you been doing?” my mom asked.
“Without, you know who.”
“Good riddance,” Mimi piped in.
I laughed. “I’m doing good, Mom.”
“Anyone new yet?”
How to answer the tricky question. “I’ve been on a couple of dates,” if you could call them that. What does one call meeting a guy just to have sex – a botty call? Even if you don’t know them? I need to Urban Dictionary this shit. “No one worth mentioning.”
“You know I told you, my friend Marg, she has a grandson in San Francisco. He’s some big hot shot business man. Very successful. I could get his phone number for you.”
“No offence Mimi, but hell no. Everyone is a big hot shot business man, do you know what that means in today’s world? It means he sits on his dilapidated couch that he found behind a dumpster all day and sells all of his belongings on Craigslist while attempting at online poker. And then when he takes you out on a date, it’s for a picnic on the beach which would normally be a romantic gesture until you find out that it’s the only thing he can afford and you’re the one who has to bring the food.”
“Well, that’s really unfortunate.”
“Sounds like you’re speaking from experience,” Mom murmured.
“Something like that.”
“Well, I’m sure that’s not the case. He really is quite successful,” Mimi continued.
“Okay, I’ll pretend to believe you, if you just drop it.” Mimi held up her hands in surrender. Case closed.
The next afternoon I said goodbye to my mom and Mimi. It was always a bittersweet moment. I hated leaving home, always worried about the two of them, but I was happy to go back to my life in San Francisco. They were two different worlds but I loved them just the same.
Waiting for my flight, that I was on time for, my thumb was getting a cramp swiping left on the majority of the dudes that were online. I opened my messages, only replying to the two cutest.
Refreshing the feed, I started to scroll again, finding one that was an absolute douche. His profile was only shirtless pics of his hairless chest. One included flexing bicep as he held a fish. What the hell, I messaged him, laughing at myself. Why did guys think that was sexy? Fish aren’t sexy… hold up a trophy that you won for best helicopter tongue and I’ll be impressed.
Five hours later and by the time I walked through the door on Sunday night, I had three different dates this coming week. On a roll, hussy!
*tomorrow – Chapter Ten